Federal government has reiterated its strong commitment to ending the reliance on petroleum product imports by revitalising the country’s local refining capabilities. This determination was emphasised by Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), during an inspection visit to the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Ltd. plant in Port Harcourt on Friday.
According to Dailytrust, said Senator Heineken Lokpobiri was accompanied by his counterpart, Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), as well as Ambassador Gabriel T. Aduda, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and Mr. Mele Kyari, the Group CEO of NNPC Ltd., Lokpobiri expressed confidence in the progress of the PHRC rehabilitation project. He revealed that the refinery is on track to resume operations by December this year.
Lokpobiri stated, “Our objective 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 expressed satisfaction with the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Port Harcourt refinery. He emphasized that once all the refineries are operational, Nigerians will experience an enhanced supply of petroleum products, leading to an improved economy due to domesticated foreign exchange.
Mr. Mele Kyari, the Group CEO of NNPC Ltd., added that the restoration of the refineries to optimal levels is a national aspiration, and the company is fully committed to achieving this goal. “We are hopeful that in 2024, this country will be a net exporter of petroleum products,” Kyari stated.
Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), stressed the importance of collaborative efforts to ensure the refineries’ functionality. “All hands must be on deck to ensure that the refineries are working,” he emphasized.
During the visit, the ministers participated in the Refineries’ Rehabilitation Steering Committee meeting and engaged with the refinery’s Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) Contractors. The government’s dedicated focus on rehabilitating the refineries is expected to significantly impact the nation’s energy landscape and reduce the need for fuel imports.