By Obas Esiedesa
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured Nigeria that planned rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery would be completed as scheduled in April, 2023.
The corporation said the rehabilitation which would cost $1.5 billion would bring the refinery back to 90 percent capacity.
A statement by NNPC spokesman, Dr. Kennie Obateru on Friday explained that work on the project has kicked off work with a firm commitment not to fail Nigerians.
Obateru, quoted the NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Refineries & Petrochemicals, Engr. Mustapha Yakubu, as saying that everything was being done to ensure that the project is delivered hitch-free and on schedule.
Speaking at the Technical Kick-off Meeting for the project which held at the Port Harcourt Refinery Complex, Alesa Eleme, Rivers State, Engr. Yakubu said everything about the project had been carefully worked out to ensure that the target of at least 90 percent refining capacity is achieved when operational.
“It must be hitch-free and that is why we are engaging the host communities appropriately. 200 million Nigerians are looking up to us and we can’t afford to fail. We’ve been on this journey since 2019,” he said.
The COO disclosed that the project would require 3,000 workers at the peak of activities, stressing that out of that number there would be only 70 expatriates while the balance would be sourced locally in line with the local content policy.
He expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for approving $1.5 billion for the project.
Earlier, speaking via a message delivered on his behalf by the Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation, Mr. Umar Ajiya, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, assured Nigerians that the Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) would roar back to life on or before April 5, 2023, when repairs would have been completed on the old refinery also known as Area 5.
He said the target was to fix the old refinery first so that local refining can resume as soon as possible, adding that NNPC management would do everything to support the contractor, Maire Technimont SPA, to ensure prompt delivery of the project.
“We are happy we have the contractor onboard. With strong collaboration of all parties involved, we will achieve the desired results. We have both government and private sector financing. We have the finance ministry, NEITI, labour unions and other stakeholders on board this project. They want to see transparency so they can report same to Nigerians and this is one of the most transparent processes ever”, he stated
In his presentation, the Managing Director of PHRC, Engr. Ahmed Dikko, said that all the process plants have been made hydrocarbon-free to enable the contractor carry out the rehabilitation work safely.
On his part, the representative of Maire Technimont SPA, Mr Masu Alberto, said that the rehabilitation journey started in 2017 with integrity test of the refinery. “In 2019, we did work on it and then now. We’re deploying a good number of engineers”, he said.
He listed some of the key activities that will be carried out in the project to include refurbishing of the technical building, replacement of the fire-fighting and deluge sprinkler systems, refurbishing of 24 offsite tanks, replacement of electrical equipment in substation, installation of primary earthing integration and new lighting system.
He said the project would also involve the replacement of pumps, turbines, one expander, boilers, three compressor fans and blowers, tanks, vessel and drums among other items equipment.