A picture taken on September 16, 2015 shows workers trying to tie a pipe of the first refinery in Nigeria, which was built in 1965 in oil rich Port Harcourt, Rivers State. AFP PHOTO

Minister of State for  Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has said the Port Harcourt refinery was on course to resume operations by the first quarter of 2023.

Sylva spoke while fielding questions from journalists shortly after the facility tour in Eleme, Rivers, on Tuesday.

In 2021, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Limited commenced the rehabilitation of the refinery, after the Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation exercise.

Speaking on the work progress of the rehabilitation exercise, the minister said the plant would refine 60,000 barrels of crude per stream day (bpsd) when it resumes operations.

“This project kicked off second quarter last year, and where they are now is quite impressive. It is on schedule. 

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“The commitment is to deliver 60,000 barrels per day from this refinery by the first quarter of next year, and, of course, we are quite happy.”

He assured that the Federal Government would end all forms of illegal oil bunkering going on in the Niger Delta, adding that modular refinery programme of the FG was also on course, urging people to take advantage of the programme.

He said:  “When people begin to equate modular refinery with the criminality that is going, I think they don’t go together.

“The criminality should be taken on. What is going on in Port Harcourt and some of these areas causing problem is a criminal activity, and we cannot legalise that criminal activity.

“We must stop that activity by law enforcement and that has started. The programme of starting a modular refinery had always been on.

“Any law-abiding Nigerian who wants to invest in this area can access funding and the licenses from the federal government.”

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