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Refineries: Oil Workers Threaten Takeover
Wednesday, 06 June 2007
From Ahamefula Ogbu in Port Harcourt - ThisDay Newspapers

Oil workers have threatened to “physically” stop the takeover of both Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries by their new owner, Blue Star Oil, a Nigerian consortium.The workers, under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of (PENGASSAN), and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Employees (NUPENG), said they would stop Blue Star Oil from taking possession of the refineries.
According to them, the price of $561 million paid for the Port Harcourt refinery was far below cost of materials and spare parts currently in store and valued at over $800 million and those in transit valued at $9.2 million.

These, they said, were apart from the crude oil stock valued at $65 million as well as finished and intermediate products in stock valued at $42 million and a storage tank valued at $625 million, all in good conditions.
Jointly addressing newsmen at the Port Harcourt refinery complex weekend, Comrade Osu Lambert, chairman of NUPENG and Comrade Adamu Umar of PENGASSAN, both alleged that former President Olusegun Obasanjo sold the refineries to himself and his friends in a hurried manner to beat the handover deadline.
They alleged that, since Obasanjo has been proved to hold shares in Blind Trust in Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp), which is in the consortium that bought the refineries, he simply sold the complexes to himself and friends without taking into consideration the interest of Nigerians.
The sale, which they said included the Bonny Terminal and Okrika jetty which acts as loading bay was far below the cost of the two facilities alone which is $1.6 billion.
They argued that the process of the sale lacked transparency and alleged that titles to national legacies were handed over to few Nigerians in a “less than transparent” manner in the name of privatisation.
“Stemming from the above, the summary of the ridiculous auction is that the PHRC Ltd known as the crown jewel of the nation’s refineries is worth over $5 billion. Its 51 percent equity is estimated at $2.6 billion while Blue Star Oil Services Consortium paid $561m for the same equity which translates to an unfavorable difference in transaction of approximately $2.03b.
“Therefore, PHRC Branch of PENGASSAN/NUPENG and their members hereby reject the unwholesome transaction in the illegal sale of PHRC which is not to the best interest of the Nigerian public, and further request that the sale of such a priced national asset be revised immediately for the purpose of economic stability”, they insisted.
They reminded Nigerians that the sale “included the old and new refineries, the 60,000 barrels a day capacity old refinery with crude distillation unit, catalytic reforming unit and Liquefied Petroleum Gas unit as well as utility unit and the new refinery with 150,000 barrels a day capacity.”
The new refinery, they said consists of crude distillation unit, catalytic reforming unit, the fluid catalytic cracking unit and the hydrofluoric (HF) Alkylation unit with a total refining capacity of the two being 210,000 barrels a day.
They also said the core investors have no record of refining even a barrel of oil and wondered why they were preferred and hurried in the manner the transaction followed.
They claimed not to be against privatisation but “the interest of workers and due process and diligence ought to be observed.”
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