In a briefing held in Abuja on Wednesday, the Federal Government affirmed that the Port Harcourt Refining Company is undergoing rigorous testing procedures, reassuring the public of the imminent release of refined petroleum products into the market.
As oil marketers voiced concerns over the recent depreciation of the naira against the United States dollar, anticipating potential hikes in pump prices, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited faced scrutiny over its ability to sustain current fuel costs amidst the challenging currency exchange rates, where one dollar now equates to approximately N1,450.
During an event in Abuja, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, addressed queries regarding the status of the Port Harcourt refinery. He confirmed that while the mechanical completion of the refinery had been achieved, testing processes were still underway.
The announcement follows the Federal Government’s declaration on December 21, 2023, regarding the mechanical completion of rehabilitation works on Area-5 Plant of the Port Harcourt Refining Company in Rivers State. Initial projections suggested the facility would commence refining 60,000 barrels of crude oil after the holiday season, which did not materialize as planned.
Minister Lokpobiri clarified, “The mechanical aspect of the Port Harcourt refinery has been completed, and they are still test-running. These are substantial projects crucial to our economic survival, and I anticipate that product distribution will commence shortly.”
Lokpobiri drew parallels with the Dangote refinery, commissioned by the Buhari administration, highlighting the time required for operational readiness. He expressed optimism that the Port Harcourt refinery, alongside the Warri refinery, would soon contribute to Nigeria’s refining capacity.
He emphasized, “With ongoing initiatives like modular refineries, offering capacities from 5,000 to 30,000 barrels, we envision addressing Nigeria’s energy demands and becoming a key supplier of refined products to West Africa.”
As the nation navigates currency fluctuations and strives to bolster its refining capabilities, the government’s commitment to energy sufficiency remains central amidst broader economic considerations.