By Juliet Ukanwosu
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has disclosed that the Port Harcourt refinery is expected to resume operations by April 2023 with at last 90percent refining capacity.
This was made known on Thursday during the kicked off of construction work in the Port Harcourt Refinery rehabilitation project with a firm commitment not to fail Nigerians.
Speaking during the Technical Kick-off Meeting for the project which held at the Port Harcourt Refinery Complex, Alesa Eleme, Rivers State, the NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Refineries & Petrochemicals, Engr. Mustapha Yakubu, stated that everything was being done to ensure that the project is delivered hitch-free and on schedule.
“Everything about the project had been carefully worked out to ensure that the target of at least 90% refining capacity is achieved when operational. It must be hitch-free and that is why we are engaging the host communities appropriately. 200 million Nigerians are looking up to us and we can’t afford to fail. We’ve been on this journey since 2019,” he said.
He disclosed that the project would require 3,000 workers at the peak of activities, stressing that out of that number there would be only 70 expatriates while the balance would be sourced locally in line with the local content policy.
Extractive 360 report that the Federal Government had approved the sum of $1.5 billion for the Port Harcourt refinery rehabilitation project.
Speaking through the Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation, Mr. Umar Ajiya, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, assured Nigerians that the Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) would roar back to life on or before April 5, 2023, when repairs would have been completed on the old refinery also known as Area 5.
He said the target was to fix the old refinery first so that local refining can resume as soon as possible, adding that NNPC management would do everything to support the contractor, Maire Technimont SPA, to ensure prompt delivery of the project.
“We are happy we have the contractor onboard. With strong collaboration of all parties involved, we will achieve the desired results. We have both government and private sector financing. We have the finance ministry, NEITI, labour unions and other stakeholders on board this project. They want to see transparency so they can report same to Nigerians and this is one of the most transparent processes ever”, he stated
In his presentation, the Managing Director of PHRC, Engr. Ahmed Dikko, said that all the process plants have been made hydrocarbon-free to enable the contractor carry out the rehabilitation work safely.
Representative of Maire Technimont SPA, Masu Alberto, listed some of the key activities that will be carried out in the project to include refurbishing of the technical building, replacement of the fire-fighting and deluge sprinkler systems, refurbishing of 24 offsite tanks, replacement of electrical equipment in substation, installation of primary earthing integration and new lighting system.
Also to be replaced are pumps, turbines, one expander, boilers, three compressor fans and blowers, tanks, vessel and drums among other equipment.