The Federal Government has restated that the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Ltd would be back on stream by December.
This is part of the government’s commitment to ending petroleum product importation as soon as efforts are being redoubled to restore the nation’s local refining capacity.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said this, according to a Friday statement by the Chief Corporate Communications Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited Garba Deen Muhammad.
He quoted the Minister as giving the assurance during an inspection tour of the rehabilitation work progress at the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Ltd. plant, in Port Harcourt on Friday.
The Minister, who was in the company of his counterpart, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ambassador Gabriel T. Aduda, and the Group CEO, NNPC Ltd., Mr. Mele Kyari, said considering the level of progress recorded in the PHRC rehabilitation project, the plant will come back on stream by December this year.
“Our objective in coming here today is to ensure that in the next few years, Nigeria stops fuel importation. 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 assured.
He also said he was satisfied with the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Port Harcourt refinery, noting that 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.
This comment is coming a few weeks after President Bola Tinubu, in a bid to convince the organised labour to halt their nationwide protest, promised that the Port Harcourt refinery will become operation in December.
Also during Friday’s visit, the Group CEO, of NNPC Ltd., Mr. Mele Kyari, said bringing back the refineries to their optimal levels is a national aspiration, and the Company remains focused on delivering that.
“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.
“We are hopeful that in 2024, this country will be a net exporter of petroleum products,” Kyari stated.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo said: “We are here 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.
During the visit, the ministers also participated in the Refineries’ Rehabilitation Steering Committee meeting and held a meeting with the refinery’s Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) Contractors.