The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has clarified that neither Oando nor Agip had been handed over the right of maintenance and running of any of the refineries, saying a transparent bidding process will be held, Premium Times reports.

His statement comes days after the Senate rejected an earlier announcement that Agip, a subsidiary of the Italian oil giant, Eni, had committed to repairing the Port Harcourt refinery, as part of a $15 billion investment that includes building a 150 thousand barrel per day refinery and a power plant.

The minister said, he was at the head of a technical committee set up to identify the companies interested in financing the upgrade and repair of the four refineries on concessionary basis. Companies interested in participating in the process, he said, would be invited to formally declare their interest after their records have been assessed, in terms of financial, engineering, downstream capabilities.

Dispelling speculations that government planned to sell the refineries, Mr. Kachikwu said serious considerations were being given to the option of inviting their original builders, which have the designs and engineering outlay, to handle the repairs, while identifying those interested in providing the financing.