Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has said that the plan to get the nation’s ailing refineries to work at almost full capacity before 2019 is no longer achievable.

Kachikwu stated this in Lagos on Monday at the 18th edition of the International HSE Biennial Conference on the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria organized by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in conjunction with other stakeholders.

 The minister had, while speaking as a guest on BBC’s Hard Talk in London on May 22, 2017 vowed to resign if the country failed to attain self-sufficiency in the refining of its petroleum products by 2019.

Delivering his keynote address at the conference, Kachikwu revealed that 10 out of the over 40 licensed modular refineries had commenced operation with three likely to come on stream towards the end of next year while work was ongoing on the four refineries owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC).

“Hopefully in the next board meeting next week, we will be able to come to final landing on the commercial terms for those investments. If we do, that brings in the processing of 445,000 barrels of crude.

“Even though I had wanted in my usual bullish nature to get this thing driven so that we can have all the refineries working by end of 2019, obviously it will slip a bit.

But what is important is that we must begin the process. We are going to deliver those barrels refined by 2020, so be it,” Kachikwu said.

Nigeria has four refineries with two located in Port Harcourt and one each in Kaduna and Warri. They have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day but they have operated far below this capacity for many years.