The Federal Government (FG), has promised that the Port Harcourt refinery will begin operations by December 2023.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, spoke in Port Harcourt, on Friday, during an inspection tour of the rehabilitation work at the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Limited plant.
Information Nigeria reports that Lokpobiri’s assurance follows a similar statement by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu earlier this month.
The minister said the plant would be back on stream by December this year, considering the level of progress recorded in the PHRC rehabilitation project.
According to him, the objective of the tour was 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,” Garba Deen Muhammad, spokesperson for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), quoted Lokpobiri as saying.
While noting that he was satisfied with the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Port Harcourt Refinery, he pointed out that once all the refineries become operational, Nigerians will benefit from a better supply of petroleum products and domesticated foreign exchange, which will boost the country’s economy.
On his part, Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, said bringing back the refineries to their optimal levels is a national aspiration, adding that 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,” he said.
He assured that by next year, the country will be a net exporter of petroleum products.
In September 2022, Timipre Sylva, former minister of state for petroleum resources, said the old Port Harcourt refinery would become functional by the end of last year.
However, in March 2023, Sylva said the plant would commence refining activities before the end of the second quarter of 2023.