The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, on Friday, disclosed that the $1.5 billion rehabilitated Port Harcourt refinery will commence operation by December 2023.
This was as he reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to ending petroleum product importation as efforts were being made to restore the nation’s local refining capacity.
He gave the assurance during an inspection tour of the rehabilitation work progress at the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Ltd. plant, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
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 the said date.
Also, he said the Warri refinery will come on stream by the end of the first quarter of next year while Kaduna will also come on board by the end of 2024 adding,”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.”
While expressing satisfaction over the progress of work at the Port Harcourt refinery, he noted that once all the refineries are back on stream, Nigerians will not only enjoy better supply of petroleum products, but the foreign exchange will be domesticated, leading to an improved economy.
Earlier in his remarks, the Group CEO, 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.
On his part, 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 two Ministers also participated in the Refineries’ Rehabilitation Steering Committee meeting and held a meeting with the refinery’s Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) Contractors.
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