Alice Smith
Fri, Aug 25, 2023 10:05 PM

Nigeria Aims to Achieve Fuel Independence as Refineries Begin Operation

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Nigeria Aims to Achieve Fuel Independence as Refineries Begin Operation
Nigeria's newly appointed oil minister has announced plans for the country's four oil refineries to start operations by the end of next year. The southern Port Harcourt refinery is expected to begin processing crude as early as December. Nigeria currently imports the majority of its refined fuel due to inadequate capacity and poor maintenance. With an aim to achieve fuel independence, the government is investing in refinery upgrades and building new facilities.

ABUJA, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Nigeria expects its four oil refineries to be operational by the end of next year, its new oil minister said on Friday, with the southern Port Harcourt plant seen starting as early as December.

Last year, the government said the Port Harcourt refinery will start processing crude at the end of 2022. However, successive oil ministers and NNPC Ltd executives have announced a series of unsuccessful plans to restart, revamp or expand the refineries.

Heineken Lokpobiri, who this week resumed as Nigeria's minister of state for petroleum, inspected ongoing refurbishment at the two-unit 210,000 Port Harcourt refinery today.

"From what we have seen here today, Port Harcourt refinery will come on board by the end of the year," he said, adding that two other facilities in Warri and Kaduna will start processing crude between the first quarter and end of 2024.

Lokpobiri said "our objective... is to ensure that in the next few years, Nigeria stops fuel importation."

Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer, imports almost all its refined fuel needs to inadequate capacity and poor maintenance.

Four state-owned decrepit refineries with a combined 4450,000 barrels per day, 110,000 barrels Kaduna plant in the north and three units in the oil-rich Niger delta including the 125,000 barrels Warri refinery, have been shut down for years.

The Port Harcourt refinery is undergoing a $1.5 billion upgrade after Italy's Tecnimont was awarded the contract to carry out the work in 2021. The revamp will take 44 months to complete, the oil ministry said in April last year.

The country is now pinning its hopes of ending fuel imports on a 650,000 barrels per day refinery being built to by Aliko Dangote, Africa's richest man.

In a bid to achieve fuel independence, Nigeria is prioritizing the refurbishment and modernization of its existing refineries, which have suffered from years of neglect and mismanagement. The Port Harcourt refinery, with a capacity of 210,000 barrels per day, is at the forefront of this overhaul.

Italian engineering firm Tecnimont has been awarded a $1.5 billion contract for the upgrade, which began in 2021. The ambitious project aims to revamp the refinery's two units, increasing efficiency and output.

The completion of the repairs and upgrades at the Port Harcourt facility is crucial for Nigeria's plans to reduce its reliance on fuel imports. The country, as Africa's top oil producer, currently imports the majority of its refined fuel due to limited refining capacity and aging infrastructure.

Alongside the Port Harcourt refinery, Nigeria's two other refineries in Warri and Kaduna are also set to resume full operations in the coming years. The government has targeted the first quarter of 2024 for the commencement of crude processing at these facilities.

The revival of Nigeria's refineries is part of a broader strategy to boost the domestic production of refined petroleum products. The country aims to become self-sufficient in fuel and ultimately eliminate the need for imports, a move that would significantly strengthen its energy security and reduce its dependence on international markets.

In addition to refurbishing existing facilities, Nigeria is looking ahead to the completion of the Dangote Refinery. Owned by Africa's wealthiest man, Aliko Dangote, this massive 650,000 barrels per day refinery is currently under construction and expected to become operational in the near future.

With the combination of upgraded refineries and the completion of the Dangote Refinery, Nigeria hopes to meet its domestic fuel demands and potentially become an exporter of refined petroleum products. This ambitious undertaking not only promises to stimulate economic growth but also presents an opportunity for Nigeria to assert its position as a regional energy powerhouse.

The progress made in reviving Nigeria's oil refineries underscores the country's commitment to ending the era of fuel importation. As the government and industry work together to improve infrastructure, enhance maintenance practices, and foster innovation in the energy sector, Nigeria is inching closer to achieving its goal of fuel independence.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-25 News

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