The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to end petroleum product importation soon, as efforts are being redoubled to restore the nation’s local refining capacity.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, made this known during an inspection of the rehabilitation work at the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC) plant, on Friday.
The Minister was in company of his counterpart, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), Mr Ekperikpe Ekpo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Amb. Gabriel Aduda, and the Group CEO, NNPC Ltd., Mr Mele Kyari.
Lokpobiri, according to a statement by Garba Deen Muhammad, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Ltd., said considering the level of progress recorded in the PHRC rehabilitation project, the plant would come back on stream by Dec. 2023.
“Our reason for coming here today is to ensure that in the next few years, Nigeria stops fuel importation.
“From what we have seen here today, Port Harcourt Refinery will come on board by the end of the year, Warri will come on stream by the first quarter of 2024, and Kaduna will also come on board towards the end of 2024.
“If you add those to the Dangote Refinery, we will be able to stop fuel importation, and Nigerians will enjoy the full benefits of deregulation,” the Minister assured.
The Minister also expressed satisfaction with the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Port Harcourt refinery, stating that once all the refineries are back on stream, Nigerians would enjoy a better supply of petroleum products.
According to him, foreign exchange will also be domesticated, leading to an improved economy.
Earlier in his remarks, Kyari, said bringing back the refineries to their optimal levels was a national aspiration, adding that the NNPC Ltd remained focused on delivering that.
“We are aware of our nation’s challenges in terms of fuel supply. But we are not here to give excuses.
“We are focused on delivering this rehabilitation project, our two other refineries, and all other investments towards revamping the nation’s refining capacity.
“We are hopeful that in 2024, this country will be a net exporter of petroleum products,” Kyari stated.
Also speaking, Ekpo expressed readiness of the ministry to go into the field to resolve challenges facing the sector. READ ALSO:
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“We are here to go into the field. Yesterday was the era of subsidies. Today, we don’t have subsidies.
“Today, people are in a desperate situation to heave a sigh of relief; and see how to live. You all know that petrol is very vital to our economy. All hands must be on deck to ensure that the refineries are working,” the Minister stated.
During the visit, the two Ministers also participated in the Refineries’ Rehabilitation Steering Committee meeting where they held discussions with the refinery’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contractors. (NAN)