The Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by December 2023, according to the Federal Government (FG).

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, addressed the media in Port Harcourt on Friday during an inspection of the rehabilitation progress at the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Limited plant.

Assurances made by Lokpobiri align with a previous statement from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu earlier this month.

He stated that the PHRC plant is expected to resume operations by December this year, given the significant progress observed in the rehabilitation project.

Lokpobiri’s objective for the tour was to ensure that Nigeria discontinues fuel importation in the coming years.

He mentioned, “Based on today’s observations, the Port Harcourt Refinery will be operational by year-end,

Warri is projected to start operations by the end of the first quarter next year, and Kaduna will follow suit towards the close of next year.”

Quoting Lokpobiri, Garba Deen Muhammad, spokesperson for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC),

shared that the addition of the Dangote Refinery will facilitate the end of fuel importation, ushering in the benefits of deregulation for Nigerians.

Expressing satisfaction with the ongoing rehabilitation at the Port Harcourt Refinery,

Lokpobiri emphasized that the collective operation of all refineries will enhance petroleum product availability and contribute to the domestic economy by conserving foreign exchange.

Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, highlighted that restoring the refineries to optimal levels is a national goal and assured that the company remains dedicated to that objective.

He remarked, “Our focus is on completing this rehabilitation project, revamping our other two refineries, and all other investments to boost the nation’s refining capacity.”

Kyari affirmed that the country will transition to being a net exporter of petroleum products by the following year.

While former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources,

Timipre Sylva, initially predicted the functionality of the old Port Harcourt refinery by the end of the previous year, he later adjusted the timeline in March 2023,

stating that refining activities would commence before the conclusion of the second quarter of 2023.

By Chinedu

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