As the fight against illegal refineries in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region rages on, the country’s petroleum authority has revealed plans to engage illegal workers to increase output.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director Maikanti Baru has said that the government will create a consortium that will engage youths working in illegal refineries to produce 1000 barrels of crude per day, the state news agency reported.
This follows a plan announced by the Federal Government to transform refineries into legal entities so as to dissuade the youth from crime and create jobs, Baru explained at a mining conference in Abuja last week.
It is not clear when and how the roadmap will be implemented by the government.
Nigeria is facing its worst economic slump in 25 years despite progress in curbing illegal refining and militant attacks on oil infrastructure that have crippled crude production in the Niger Delta.
During a raid on Friday in Port Harcourt, the Nigerian Navy destroyed an illegal refinery which had refined 1.59 million litres of diesel.
According to a report by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Nigeria’s oil production increased from 1.550 million b/d in January to 1.608 million b/d in February following decline in attacks in the oil producing region.
The production increase inched Nigeria closer to Angola which still remains Africa’s largest oil producer.
OPEC also revealed that Nigeria, Angola and other members lost $1 trillion in revenue as a result of fall in crude oil prices.