The Senate committee on Petroleum downstream has appealed to the Rivers state governor to help overturn the travel advisory issued by the Japanese government to its citizens coming to Nigeria, not to travel to the Niger-delta over security fears.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Magnus Abe made the appeal when the committee met with the governor of Rivers state Mr. Rotimi Amaechi on Tuesday, ahead of an inspection of the Port Harcourt refinery.
The Japanese government had in a recent travel advisory, warned its citizens not to travel to the Niger delta region of the country, citing conflicts in the region.
According to Senator Abe, this warning by the Japanese government has “prevented the original contractor of the Port Harcourt refinery from agreeing to come to Nigeria to do the Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refinery.”
Japan Gasoline Corporation originally built the refinery in 1989. The company has being invited for the TAM of PHRC at the cost of $146 but it has declined the offer based on the travel advisory restriction by the Japanese government.
The federal government and the Ministry of Petroleum resources had announced last year that the nation’s refineries are to be returned to the original builders of the refineries for an effective TAM. This is following successive failure of local contractors to get the refineries work, at full capacity. A deadline of December 2012 is set for the refineries to perform at almost 100 percent capacity.
Mr Amaechi in his response asked the national assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) blaming the non-passage of the bill for the problems in the oil and gas sector.