Oil Marketers Anticipate Commencement of Fuel Loading at Port Harcourt Refinery in May

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Oil marketers are brimming with optimism as they anticipate the commencement of fuel loading at the Port Harcourt Refinery Company in Rivers State, signaling a potential breakthrough in Nigeria’s quest for domestic fuel production.

Dealers operating under the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) recently visited the refinery and expressed confidence that the rehabilitation work had neared completion. According to IPMAN officials, the facility is expected to be operational this month, aligning with earlier statements by Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).

Although Kyari had initially projected the commencement of operations within two weeks back in March 2024, subsequent delays were attributed to ongoing safety and regulatory compliance tests at the plant. Nevertheless, the recent visit by oil marketers has fueled optimism about an imminent start to refined petroleum product releases.

Tekena Ikpaki, the Port Harcourt Branch Chairman of IPMAN, provided insights into the refinery’s current status, assuring that minor mechanical and electrical issues were being addressed. He underscored that the refinery had already received crude oil for processing, indicating readiness to commence operations pending the conclusion of pending processes.

While acknowledging the challenges associated with revitalizing a long-dormant facility, Ikpaki expressed confidence that production could kick off before the end of the month. He emphasized ongoing efforts by the refinery’s management to expedite the finalization of necessary procedures.

Kyari’s earlier pronouncements regarding the rehabilitation progress of the Port Harcourt refinery have raised expectations among stakeholders. He had highlighted the completion of mechanical works on the Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna refineries, with the latter slated to commence operations in December.

The rehabilitation project, estimated to cost about $1.5 billion, represents a crucial step towards enhancing Nigeria’s domestic refining capacity and reducing reliance on fuel imports. Once operational, the Port Harcourt refinery is projected to refine 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day, significantly bolstering the country’s fuel production capacity.

The eagerly anticipated revival of indigenous refineries is poised to address longstanding challenges in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector. With the promise of increased domestic fuel supply, Nigerians await the tangible outcomes of these rehabilitation efforts, anticipating positive impacts on fuel availability and pricing in the local market.

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