Nigeria set to reopen Port Harcourt refinery

Reopening of the Port Harcourt refinery, Nigeria, will cut country's reliance on oil imports by around 40 per cent. PHOTO | FILE 

Nigeria is set to reopen soon an oil refinery at Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta.

The reopening of the refinery will cut the country's reliance on oil imports by around 40 per cent.

At full capacity, the facility produces about 40 per cent of the current imports, according to National Bureau of Statistics data.

Nigeria's four refineries had been comatose for years, gulping various allocations for turnaround maintenance that never came.

The west African nation resorted to importation of refined petroleum products when it was apparent that the refineries became a drain pipe and avenue for embezzlement.

The refineries are located in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt.

Two of the factories have started production, while the third will start operations next week.

Emeka Offor, the executive chairman of Chrome Oil Services, told our correspondent in Abuja that the critical constituent of the Port Harcourt refinery - the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) - would become functional next week.

Chrome oil is a major marketer as well as owner of oil rigs.

Scarcity

Mr Offor confirmed that the restoration work at the FCCU had reached 98 per cent conclusion and would come onstream before end of the week.

The company’s chairman assured Nigerians that when it becomes fully operational, the unit would concentrate on the production of petrol, which would also go a long way to reduce importation.

He added that it would then resolve the country's petrol scarcity.

"The refineries are working but below installed capacity," he said.

There are two refineries in Port Harcourt with the old refinery commissioned in 1965 with capacity of 60,000 barrels daily.

The second refinery was commissioned in 1989 with a capacity of 150,000 barrels a day, bringing the combined crude processing capacity of the Port-Harcourt Refinery to 210,000 barrels a day.

The Kaduna and Warri refineries are already operational.

The Independent Major Oil Marketers last week urged members to open filling stations to customers as the price of the product was likely to drop next week.

The association said that importation of fuel could no longer be profitable and warned against hoarding.

Importation had forced previous governments to introduce a subsidy to reduce pump prices.

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