Barely a month after the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation shut down the Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries, the Warri Refinery which had been producing at a minimal rate has been equally shut down owing to shortage in crude supply.
The NNPC had last month said the plants were shut simultaneously following multiple attacks on the Bonny-Okrika crude supply line to the Port Harcourt Refinery and the Escravos-Warri crude supply line to the Kaduna Refinery suffered severe breaches.
It was gathered that the Warri Refinery which has been producing about 1.5 million litres of petrol product daily since it was refurbished had been shut for several days after exhausting the crude at the dam of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC).
Reliable sources at the plant however, allayed fears that the refinery was not shut down owing to ailing equipment.
Since the news broke on Wednesday afternoon, most filling stations in the city have been reportedly shut while the few still dispensing had adjusted their pump price from the government approved price to over one hundred naira per litre with long queues.
Our sources accused the Federal government of playing politics with the operation of the refinery disclosing that the plant was actually shut down since the first week of February and shielded from the public glare.
This is coming, when the face-off between private depot owners and members of the Independent Marketers Association, Warri Zone, were yet to resolve their differences over allegation of selling the product above N80 per litre to marketers in the zone.
The unresolved crisis had forced members of the union last week to picket the Warri zonal office of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to enforce compliance of the pump price among private depot owners.
National Assistant Secretary, IPMAN, Comrade Augustine Erabor who led the marketers in protest along with Benjamin Emoefe (Ben Jones), to the Warri Depot chairman said, “We do not get fuel to buy at the N77/litre -depot price and find it difficult to sell at N86. The private depot owners sell to us and compel us to pay additional charges into a private account.”