The recent move by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to hand over the operational management of its largest refinery to private entities raises questions about the prospect of privatization. However, this initiative appears to be skirting the issue, as the state continues to avoid full-fledged privatization. This stance serves as a barrier to potential growth in the industry, substantial revenues for the government, and improved living conditions for Nigerians.

In a surprising announcement, the state-owned oil giant revealed that it has successfully rehabilitated the 210,000-barrel per day Port Harcourt Refinery in Rivers State, funded by a $1.5 billion loan. The company is now actively seeking private partners to handle the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the refinery, while retaining overall management control.

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