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Nigeria to legalise mini refineries in Delta

07 August 2017

The Nigerian government has said it will legalise mini refineries in the oil-rich Niger Delta and supply them with crude oil at a reasonable price by the end of the year. The move is aimed at ending the theft of oil from pipelines in the Delta, which has many illegal refineries that process the stolen oil. Communities there say they do not benefit from the oil extracted from their region.

Illegal refinery - Shutterstock
Illegal refinery - Shutterstock

The plan was announced after a meeting between Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and Delta community leaders, who welcomed the outcome of the meeting.

A statement from the presidency said: "The Federal Government has started the process of replacing illegal refineries in the region with modular ones." Each of the Delta states would receive two modular refineries to start up in the fourth quarter, the statement said.

Last year a military crackdown on thousands of illegal refineries raised tensions in the region. The refineries process stolen crude in makeshift pipes and metal tanks hidden in oil-soaked clearings deep in the southern swampland's thick forests.

Delta leaders presented the Nigerian Government with a list of 16 demands last November to drag the region out of poverty. The militants then halted attacks on oil infrastructure to give the talks a chance.

The government hopes that the modular refinery programme will result in illegal refineries dying out and also end militant attacks on oil production facilities, which cut Nigeria’s output by 700,000 barrels a day for several months last year.

The presidency said it was also discussing with oil majors to move their regional headquarters to the Niger Delta, another demand from communities complaining they do not benefit from the crude in their region.

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