P’Harcourt Refinery to complete test run this month, NNPCL says

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) has announced that the test run of the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC) will be completed by the end of January 2024. The PHRC, which has a capacity of 210,000 barrels per day, is undergoing a comprehensive rehabilitation project that is expected to restore its full functionality and efficiency by the end of 2024.


The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said that the mechanical completion of the first phase of the PHRC was achieved on December 20, 2023, and that the production of refined petroleum products would commence after the Christmas break¹².


“This is to announce to Nigerians that in fulfilment of our pledge to complete phase one of the Port Harcourt refinery by the end of 2023, and the subsequent streaming of phase two in 2024, we happily announce the mechanical completion of flare start-up on December 20, 2023,” the minister stated².


He added that the rehabilitation of the PHRC was part of the government’s efforts to boost domestic refining capacity and reduce the dependence on imported fuel. He also thanked Nigerians for their patience and trust in the NNPCL to deliver on its promise and mandate.


The Chief Corporate Communications Officer of the NNPCL, Olufemi Soneye, said that the test run of the PHRC involved various industry-based procedures, such as leaks, air, line blowing, flushing, drying, steam out, calibration, plant inerting, and hydrocarbon introduction³.


He said that the NNPCL was adhering to global best practices and standards in the test run, and assured Nigerians that the PHRC would commence commercial production of refined products shortly.


“We’ve successfully completed the mechanical phase of the PHRC Area 5 plant, installing all vital components. Licensor inspection has been done and catalysts delivered. Now, industry-based testing remains, focusing on leaks, air, line blowing, flushing, drying, steam out, calibration, plant inerting, and then hydrocarbon introduction. While we share the optimism, adherence to global best practices is crucial,” he said³.


According to the NNPCL, the PHRC will supply refined Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), Automotive Gas Oil (diesel), and other products to 12 states, including Abia, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Delta, among others³.


Oil marketers and experts have expressed optimism that the completion of the PHRC, as well as the upcoming Dangote refinery, will reduce the cost of refined products in the country, although they cautioned that it would not lead to a massive price crash³.


They said that other factors, such as exchange rate, taxes, subsidies, and logistics, would also affect the pricing of refined products in the domestic market.


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