By Bassey Udo
The rehabilitation of the Warri refinery is expected to be completed latest by the end of the first quarter of 2023,
Handlers of the repairs of the Port Harcourt Refinery, Tecnimont of Italy, had earlier announced that it expected the plant to start fuel production by December 2022.
In August 2021,the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the Executive Council of the Federation had approved the award of the contract for the rehabilitation of the four refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna at the combined contract sum of $1.5 billion, to be funded by the federal government, NNPC and Africa Export-Import Bank AFREXIM.
Sylva said the rehabilitation exercise would be completed in three phases spanning 18, 24 and 44 months, to ensure the resuscitation of the country’s moribund refineries to reduce the cost of processing petroleum products, cut down on the volume of fuel imports and boost the country’s economy.
Nigerians have, for several months, expressed worry that nothing seems to be happening at the refineries towards meeting the delivery deadlines.
But speaking on Thursday in Seoul, South Korea, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed delight that the contractors were working hard to meet the schedule for the rehabilitation of the refineries.
The President was speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and Daewoo Group of South Korea handlers of the contract for the rehabilitation of the Kaduna refinery.
The President’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said in a statement that he was particularly excited that the signing of the contract was coming on the heels of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Warri refinery by the same Daewoo Group that would01 at the first instance, deliver fuels production before the first half of 2023.
The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the 2022 World Bio Summit in Seoul, South Korea.
“Daewoo Group has massive investments in the automobile, maritime and other sectors of our economy. I am also aware that Daewoo is currently engaged in the execution of the NLNG train 7 project and also constructing sea-going LPG vessels for NNPC and her partners,” the President said at the event.
He said he was looking forward to the company delivering ongoing projects, especially at the Warri and Kaduna refineries, and the NLNG Train 7 project.
“This no doubt will open many more windows of opportunities for Daewoo Group and other Korean companies in Nigeria. I thank you for your faith in Nigeria,” President Buhari told the Korean conglomerate at the end of the ceremony.
The Group CEO, NNPC, Mele Kyari, who reacted to the agreement signing through his verified Twitter handle, @MKKyari said the NNPC was making progressing with its refinery rehabilitation agenda.
“We endorsed the LOI for the the revised strategy of quick fix for the Kaduna refinery with Daewoo in Seoul. Mobilization to site to commence shortly. Rehabilitarion activities in Port Harcourt and Warri refineries are continuing. We are poised to deliver on schedule,” said.
The 110,000 bares per day (bpd)-capacity Kaduna Refinery is one of Nigeria’s four dysfunctional refineries that have produced no petroleum products for years, leaving the country to rely on imported products to meet local consumption.
Data from the 2021 Annual audited financial statement of the NNPC showed that the refineries recorded a N22.9 billion loss during the year.
The rehabilitation of the four refineries was in fulfillment of the Federal Government’s desire to resuscitate the country’s moribund refineries to reduce the cost of processing petroleum products, cut down on the volume of fuel imports and boost the country’s economy.
The rehabilitation exercise was to be carried out on or before May 2023.