Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum (oil) has said that the Port Harcourt Refinery (PHRC) will be ready by December 2023.
He made this known in a release signed by Garba Deen Muhammad, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer at the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), during an inspection tour of the rehabilitation work progress at the PHRC Ltd. plant, late Friday.
According to the Minister, the Federal Government is commited to ending petroleum product importation soon, as efforts are being redoubled to restore the nation’s local refining capacity.
“Considering the level of progress recorded in the PHRC rehabilitation project, the plant will come back on stream by December this year,” he said.
According to Lokpobiri, the objective of the stakeholders in visiting the plant 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,” the Minister said.
The Minister also said he was satisfied with the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Port Harcourt refinery, noting that once all the refineries are back on stream, Nigerians will enjoy a better supply of petroleum products, and foreign exchange will be domesticated, leading to an improved economy.
Meanwhile, Mele Kyari, the Group CEO of NNPC Ltd., 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 said.
Also speaking, Ekperikpe Ekpo, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), 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 said.