Nigeria’s state-owned oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC), has announced that test runs at the 60,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery are nearing completion, paving the way for a full operational restart after five years of shutdown.
“Testing will conclude shortly, ensuring the refinery’s efficient operation,” NNPC spokesperson Femi Soneye was quoted as saying by Reuters. This marks a significant milestone in the long-awaited revitalization of the facility.
NNPC previously announced the completion of rehabilitation work on the Area-5 Plant in December 2023, with the first phase aiming to refine 60,000 barrels of crude oil daily upon resumption after the Christmas break. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil) Senator Heineken Lokpobiri confirmed the first phase’s completion and the anticipated start of refined product output after the holiday season.
The Port Harcourt refinery’s return to operation, alongside the upcoming launch of the Dangote Refinery later this year, is expected to significantly improve Nigeria’s domestic fuel production capacity, easing the pressure on foreign exchange reserves currently used for fuel imports.
While the cost of refined products is likely to decrease with these new facilities coming online, experts and downstream operators caution against expecting a dramatic price crash, according to media reports.
The revival of the Port Harcourt refinery and the launch of the Dangote Refinery represent a major step towards domesticating Nigeria’s fuel production and potentially reducing its reliance on imports.
This move could have positive implications for the country’s economy and foreign exchange reserves, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact it will have on fuel prices at the pump.