Port Harcourt, August 26, 2023 – The federal government of Nigeria has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to end the dependence on petroleum product imports, with intensified efforts directed at rejuvenating the nation’s indigenous refining capabilities.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, revealed this crucial update during a comprehensive inspection of the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Ltd. plant, located in Port Harcourt. The minister’s announcement was made on Friday during the inspection tour, which saw him accompanied by esteemed counterparts, including the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ambassador Gabriel T. Aduda, and the Group CEO of NNPC Ltd., Mr. Mele Kyari.
Senator Lokpobiri expressed immense optimism regarding the rehabilitation progress at the PHRC facility. He confidently predicted that the refinery would be operational again by December of this year. “Our objective in coming here today is 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,” affirmed the minister.
The minister further conveyed his satisfaction with the ongoing rehabilitation efforts at the Port Harcourt refinery. He emphasized that the imminent revival of all the nation’s refineries would lead to an enhanced supply of petroleum products within Nigeria, thereby localizing foreign exchange and contributing to an overall improved economy.
Echoing the minister’s sentiments, the Group CEO of NNPC Ltd., Mr. Mele Kyari, stressed that restoring the refineries to their optimal capacities is a collective national aspiration, and the NNPC remains committed to making that aspiration a reality. “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,” assured Kyari.
In a separate statement, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, emphasized the urgent need for collaborative efforts to ensure the refineries’ effective functioning. He acknowledged the historical shift from subsidy-based fuel economics to a more challenging landscape. “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,” declared Hon. Ekpo.
During the course of their visit, the two ministers actively participated in the Refineries’ Rehabilitation Steering Committee meeting and conducted discussions with the refinery’s Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) Contractors. This comprehensive engagement demonstrated the government’s strong commitment to restoring the nation’s refining capacity and achieving self-sufficiency in petroleum production.
The federal government’s resolute efforts to end petroleum imports reflect a determination to secure Nigeria’s energy future, strengthen the economy, and provide sustainable benefits for its citizens. With the pending reactivation of key refineries and the ongoing push for self-reliance, Nigeria is poised to make significant strides towards becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, thereby reshaping its energy landscape for years to come.