The Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) is still undergoing test-run, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, has said.
Lokpobiri, who spoke to journalists on the state of the refinery, explained that it is one of the projects fundamental to the survival of the country economically.
According to him, refined petroleum products from the plant would hit the market soon. He added that the mechanical aspect of the refinery has been completed.
“I believe that very soon products will start coming from there…and the Warri refinery is in top gear.”
The minister who didn’t give a timeline, however, expressed optimism that in a few months, there would be enough petroleum products in the country.
“If you ask me, in the next few months, we would have tremendously increased our refining capacity.
“So I believe that very soon the Port Harcourt refinery and the other refineries will all come on stream,” he said
Meanwhile, it was reported in December 2023 that the PHRC had resumed operations several months after it was shut down for rehabilitation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL)
Business Day quoted Amaka Okafor, Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, who confirmed the resumption of operation at the refinery by saying, “Yes, the refinery is set, we will visit the refinery site today to kickstart its operation.”
The $1.5 billion rehabilitation project of the refinery was launched by former President Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2019, to restore the refinery to its nameplate capacity of 210,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Lokpobiri and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, in August 2023, assured Nigerians that the refinery would be operational by December 2023.
Kyari also during the budget defence session on December 9, 2023, told Nigerian lawmakers that by the end of the month, the refinery would commence operations.
He further said that in early 2024, the Warri refinery would begin operation and that by the end of 2024, the Kaduna refinery was expected to also commence operation.
Kyari was quoted as saying, “I can confirm to you that by the end of December this year, we will start the Port Harcourt refinery; early in the first quarter of 2024, we will start the Warri refinery, and by the end of 2024, Kaduna refinery will come into operation.