The Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has stated that the 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery will begin operations by the end of July, after several postponements.
This was disclosed on Monday by IPMAN National Public Relations Officer, Ukadike Chinedu. He stated that the development would stimulate economic activities, reduce the price of petroleum products, and ensure adequate supply. Recall that the refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repair works after the government secured the service of a technical adviser of Itay’s Maire Tecnimont to handle the reviews of the refinery complex, with oil major Eni appointed technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, it was reported that the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, stated that the Port Harcourt refinery would commence operations in about two weeks.

The NNPC boss disclosed this during a press briefing after he appeared before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

But in an exclusive interview with The Punch on Monday, the IPMAN official stated that the work done represented a complete turnaround, not just rehabilitation, emphasizing that every effort would be made to meet the July deadline.

Mr Ukadike said: “Yes when we visited the place, the MD told us that the refinery was almost ready and by the end of July, they would start producing. It has been turned into a new one they changed all the armored cable to brand new and everything there is almost like a brand-new refinery.

“The turnaround on maintenance is very massive and the job is being done day and night. All hands are on deck to make sure that they meet that target. By ending of July the refinery should be ready.”

When reminded of several promises by the government to kick start the project, Ukadike replied, “Yes, there have been delays but they didn’t tell us any reason for the delay of the last deadline given in April.

“They are not facing any challenges at all; I can say the refinery is 99 percent ready.“What we want is competition. I am very sure that with the two refineries, the price of petrol will be reduced.

Dangote is coming soon and the Port Harcourt refinery is almost ready too and that is very good. We need that competition for the benefit of the nation.”

The new timeline coincides with a proposal by the Dangote Refinery to commence petrol production by ending of next month (June).