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Energy: Government assures Port Harcourt Oil Refinery resumes operations December 2023

*The Federal Government of Nigeria has reassured the Port Harcourt Refinery will come on board by the end of 2023 to ensure Nigeria stops fuel importation in the next few years, as rehabilitation of Warri and Kaduna refineries follows next year

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to ending petroleum products importation as it redoubles efforts at restoring the local refining capacity in the West African country.

ConsumerConnect reports Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), said this during an inspection tour of the rehabilitation work progress at the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Limited plant, Friday, August 25 , 2023, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

Sen. Lokpobiri and his entourage during the visit to PHRC Limited  

The Minister disclosed the Port Harcourt Refining Company would be back on stream by December this year.

It was gathered the current effort at rehabilitating the ailing local oil refineries is part of the government’s commitment to ending petroleum products importation to restore the country’s local refining capacity.

Garba Deen Muhammad, Chief Corporate Communications Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, also affirmed Senator Lokpobiri gave the assurance during an inspection tour of the rehabilitation work progress at the Port Harcourt Refining Company plant.

The Minister, in company with his counterpart, Ekperikpe Ekpo, Honourable Minister for State for Petroleum (Gas); Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ambassador Gabriel T. Aduda, and Malam Make Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of NNPC Limited, said in view of the level of progress recorded in the PHRC rehabilitation project, the plant would resume operations by December this year.

Lokpobiri assured Nigerians: “From what we have seen here today, Port Harcourt Refinery will come on board by the end of the year.

“Warri will come on stream by the end of the first quarter of next year, and Kaduna will also come on board towards the end of next year.

“If you add that to the Dangote Refinery, we will be able to stop fuel importation, and Nigerians will enjoy the full benefits of deregulation.”

The Minister also noted that he was satisfied with the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Port Harcourt refinery.

According to him, once all the refineries are back on stream, Nigerians will enjoy a better supply of petroleum products, and foreign exchange will be domesticated, leading to an improved economy.

Recall that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in a bid to convince the Organised Labour to halt their nationwide protest, recently pledged to the Labour leaders, that the Port Harcourt refinery would become operation December 2023.

Kyari, during the visit to the oil facility in Port Harcourt, said bringing back the refineries to their optimal levels is a national aspiration, and the Company remains focused on delivering that.

The GCEO of NNPCL also stated: “We are aware of our nation’s challenges in terms of fuel supply. But we are not here to give excuses.

“We are focused on delivering this rehabilitation project, our two other refineries, and all other investments towards revamping the nation’s refining capacity.

He further assured energy  consumers: “We are hopeful that in 2024, this country will be a net exporter of petroleum products.”

In his remarks, Ekpo, Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), said: “We are here (Port Harcourt) to go into the field. Yesterday was the era of subsidies. Today, we don’t have subsidies.

“Today, people are in a desperate situation to heave a sigh of relief; and see how to live.

“You all know that petrol is very vital to our economy. All hands must be on deck to ensure that the refineries are working,” he stated.

The state oil company as well said the Ministers participated in the Refineries’ Rehabilitation Steering Committee meeting and held a meeting with the refinery’s Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) Contractors during the visit Friday.

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