Warri refinery barred from sale of petroleum product

•Fuel queues return to Delta as NUPENG strikes

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Andy Yakubu, has barred the management of the ailing Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, WRPC, from the sale of petroleum product.

Yakubu has ordered the Managing Director of WRPC, Mr. Paul Obelley, to revert the sale of Naphta, a by-product of crude oil, to the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC.

Naphta, is a by-product of crude oil produced by one of the major units of the refining plant, Topping Unit, TU, as a feedstock for another strategic unit, Reforming Unit, RU.

Yakubu said only PPMC was statutorily allowed to distribute and market petroleum products as enshrined by the law which created the agency in 1988.

Yakubu said that Obelley was operating outside his brief.

National Mirror recalls that the management of PPMC had dragged Obelley before the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke and Yakubu, over the sale of Naphta within the premises of the refinery.

PPMC management had accused Obelley of usurping its exclusive function as the authorised distributor and marketer of petroleum products, adding that direct sale of Naphta by Obelley was an illegal act.

Findings showed that the shutdown of WRPC, especially the RU created haulage bottleneck for Naphta at the refining complex.

It was gathered that the PPMC management was upset that the Obelley-led management, which failed to keep WRPC running, opted to directly sell Naphta to some industrial users, allegedly for pecuniary benefits.

The PPMC also raised the alarm that millions of naira being raked from the daily sale of Naphta was, allegedly going into private pockets of some top members of the management of the refinery.

Reliable sources at the PPMC headquarters in Abuja, told National Mirror yesterday that the directive of Yakubu had been communicated to the management of WRPC.

The sources said the PPMC would take over the sale of Naphta from WRPC this week as directed by the GMD.

One of the sources said; “The GMD (Yakubu) has clarified the position as to which of the subsidiaries of NNPC is allowed by law to sell petroleum products and specifically it has ordered the management of Warri refinery to stop illegal sale of Naphta forthwith.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has embarked on strike in Delta State.

Most filling stations in Warri were shut to motorists while the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, shunned loading of petroleum products in compliance with the order of the leadership of NUPENG in the zone.

Consequently, fuel queues had returned to the few filling stations operating in the state, especially in Warri and its environs. Already, motorists in the area have resorted to panic buying of petroleum products, especially petrol.

Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Mr. Cogent Ojobor, blamed the action on the interference of some leaders in Ekpan community, Uvwie Local Government Area of the state, in the branch election of the Independent Marketers Branch, IMB, of NUPENG, at Warri Refinery Depot.

Ojobor said the community held a ‘kangaroo’ election of IMB in an hotel in Ekpan, to counter the legitimate one supervised by the leaders of the union in Benin City and thereafter mobilised armed thugs to the office of the union and the depot to enforce the legitimacy of the illegal leadership.

He, however, admitted that the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has intervened in the situation.

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