Home » Port Harcourt Refinery Shutdown Hurts Oil Marketers, Consumers

Port Harcourt Refinery Shutdown Hurts Oil Marketers, Consumers

Nigeria's largest oil refinery remains non-operational, causing losses and hardship for petroleum dealers and users

by Victor Adetimilehin

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, is facing a major energy crisis as its largest refinery in Port Harcourt remains shut down for repairs. The situation has affected the livelihoods of many independent petroleum marketers and consumers, who rely on the refinery for their supply of fuel and other products.


The Port Harcourt Refinery, which has a capacity of 210,000 barrels per day, was shut down in 2021 for a comprehensive rehabilitation project that was expected to be completed by 2023. However, the project has faced several delays and challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, security issues, and contractual disputes.


The refinery’s prolonged closure has forced many petroleum marketers to source their products from other depots or import them from abroad, increasing their costs and reducing their profit margins. Some marketers have also gone out of business due to the lack of products and the stiff competition from other players.


The consumers are also feeling the pinch, as they have to pay higher prices for fuel and other petroleum products, or cope with scarcity and long queues at filling stations. The situation has also affected the transportation and power sectors, as well as the overall economy of the country.


Government Promises to Complete Refinery Rehabilitation Soon


Based on a report by Punch, the Nigerian government has assured the public that it is working hard to complete the refinery rehabilitation project as soon as possible, and restore the refinery to its full operational capacity. The government has also said that it is committed to revamping the other three refineries in the country, located in Warri, Kaduna, and Lagos, to boost the domestic refining capacity and reduce the dependence on imports.


The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said in a statement that the refinery rehabilitation project is on track and will be completed by early 2024. He said that the project is being executed by a consortium of reputable contractors, led by the Italian firm, Maire Tecnimont, and supervised by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).


Sylva said that the refinery rehabilitation project is part of the government’s efforts to improve the energy security and economic development of the country, as well as create jobs and opportunities for the local communities. 


Petroleum Marketers Call for Speedy Completion of Refinery Project


The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), the umbrella body of petroleum dealers in the country, has called on the government to expedite the completion of the refinery project and ensure that the refinery resumes operation as soon as possible


The newly elected chairman of the Port Harcourt Depot Unit of IPMAN, Tekena Ikpaki, said in an interview that his administration will ensure better leadership of the association and protect the interests of its members and the consumers. 


He expressed optimism that the refinery project will be successful and that the refinery will resume operation soon. He said that the refinery will not only benefit the petroleum marketers and consumers, but also the entire nation, as it will reduce the import bill, increase the revenue, and enhance the energy security of the country.

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