Nigeria, the largest oil producer in Africa, has set an ambitious goal to revive its four state-owned oil refineries by the end of 2024.
The country’s new oil minister, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery in the southern region is expected to start operations as early as December.
This announcement comes after previous unsuccessful attempts by successive oil ministers and executives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to restart, revamp, or expand the refineries. However, the government remains determined to make these facilities operational and decrease the nation’s reliance on imported fuel.
Lokpobiri recently visited the Port Harcourt refinery to inspect the ongoing refurbishment efforts. Based on his observations, he expressed confidence that the facility will be operational by the end of the year. Additionally, he revealed that the refineries in Warri and Kaduna are projected to start processing crude oil between the first quarter and the end of 2024.
The primary objective of this ambitious revival plan is to ensure that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in fuel production and reduces its need for imports. Currently, the country heavily relies on imported refined fuel due to inadequate refinery capacity and poor maintenance of its existing facilities.
The four state-owned refineries, which have a combined capacity of 445,000 barrels per day, have been shut down for several years. This includes the 110,000 barrels per day Kaduna plant in the north and three units in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, including the 125,000 barrels per day Warri refinery.
The refurbishment and reopening of these refineries is a significant step towards Nigeria achieving its long-standing goal of becoming self-reliant in fuel production. The revival of these facilities will not only boost the domestic economy but also strengthen Nigeria’s position as a key player in the global oil industry.
The Port Harcourt refinery is currently undergoing a significant upgrade with a total budget of $1.5 billion. In 2021, Tecnimont, an Italian company, was awarded the contract to carry out this extensive work. The project is projected to last for a duration of 44 months, as stated by the oil ministry in April of last year.
Nigeria has high expectations for the future, aiming to eliminate its reliance on fuel imports. This goal hinges on the construction of a massive refinery capable of processing 650,000 barrels per day. Spearheaded by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest individual, this refinery represents a crucial step towards achieving energy self-sufficiency in the country.