The federal government said the Port Harcourt Refinery will commence operations before the end of the first quarter of 2023.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, disclosed this on Monday in the country’s capital city of Abuja, during the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard series, organized by the Federal Ministry of Information.
Reason for delay: The refinery was initially scheduled to begin operations in December 2022 but the FG said the deadline wasn’t suitable. The latest postponement means that resumption has been delayed by three months.
NNPC’s Managing Director Mele Kyari gave reasons for the delay, saying:
“The promise was to start the fuel plant, which is the 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) component of this activity by the last quarter of 2022, but it is not practical. So, we will start it off in the first quarter of 2023, otherwise, every other process is ongoing.”
Meanwhile, the minister of state for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva, also provided further details, saying:
“The rehabilitation of the 60,000 barrels per day is being completed and it is going to be started in the first quarter.”
Timipre Sylva also highlighted the Dangote refinery which has a 650,000 barrels per day capacity and modular refineries across the country as contributors to the plan to stop the importation of petroleum products into Nigeria by 2023.
According to him, some modular refineries like the Waltersmith modular refinery, where the NNPC has a 30% stake, and the Duport modular refinery where NNPC also has a 30% stake, will start operations in 2023. When this happens alongside operations at the Dangote refinery, petroleum product imports will reduce significantly.
Sylva also called attention to Nigeria’s unsustainable fuel subsidy. He believes petroleum product prices should be market driven in Nigeria like in other countries where products sell higher than Nigeria’s current official PMS price at N180 per litre.
The backstory: In November 2022, Timipre Sylva announced that the Port Harcourt Refinery, which has been undergoing refurbishment at the cost of $1.5 billion, will be delivering 60,000 barrels per day of refined crude by the end of December 2022.
For the record: More Nigerians are buying PMS (fuel) at higher prices since Q4 2022. NNPC, Nipco, and Shema filling stations have been identified as some of the retail outlets across the country that still sell at the official price of N180 per litre amidst long queues.