PH Refinery begins operations as Shell supplies 475,000 barrels of oil

THE Port Harcourt Refinery is set to start operations following the supply of 475,000 barrels of crude oil by Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited.

The crude oil supply is the first to be made in the past few years, due mainly to the poor state of the plant, which called for the recent rehabilitation and testing to ensure readiness for sustainable operations.

The ICIR has earlier reported that the Port Harcourt refinery rehabilitation has been technically completed and would commence production after Christmas barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Confirming this development, Shell said: “This significant milestone was made possible through intensive preparations, collaboration, and the dedication of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, (BOGT) and Port Harcourt Refinery Company, (PHRC) teams.”

It stated that some activities, including pressure and leak testing to assure pipeline integrity by relevant subsidiaries of the NNPC Limited and integrity and maintenance activities on the Oil and Gas Terminal, BOT Refinery export pumps, and associated instrumentation, were carried out at the terminal through diligent efforts of the BOT operations and maintenance teams.

“The recommencement of crude oil supply from the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal to Port Harcourt Refinery is a significant achievement and a game-changer for the industry and the country. The intensive preparations, collaboration, and dedication of both teams involved were instrumental in overcoming challenges and ensuring a safe and efficient supply operation.

“This milestone will support the government’s aspiration of a steady supply of petroleum products to the downstream market and other associated benefits to the economy of the nation,” Shell stated.

Already, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPCL) Ltd said it has fulfilled its pledge of achieving the mechanical completion of rehabilitation work on the Area 5 Plant of the PHRC.

It stated that rehabilitation work has been ongoing at the Refinery for over two years and the NNPC Ltd. had pledged to complete Phase One of the project (mechanical completion and flare start-up) of Old Port Harcourt Refinery (Area 5) by 31st December 2023.

    Speaking during an inspection tour of the rehabilitation project, which also coincided with the 15th Refineries’ Rehabilitation Steering Committee Meeting, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd., Mr. Mele Kyari, had said as of December 15th, 2023, 84.4per cent of Area 5 Plant, a key component of the Refinery, and 77.4per cent of the entire rehabilitation project has been completed.

    Industry analysts said improving domestic refining of crude will impact 52 million litres of daily consumption of petroleum products in Nigeria, and lessen pressure on scarce foreign exchange expended on fuel importation.

    Speaking on the development, the President of the Petroleum Retail Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Billy Gillis-Harry, told The ICIR that the development would lead to stable pricing of petroleum products in the country.

    “Export, shipping, trains-shipment costs, and insurance are the costs that Nigeria won’t be paying when it refines large chunk of its imported petroleum products locally. Foreign exchange, which we are lacking now, will be saved also. It is a very welcome development for the sector, “he added.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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