Port Harcourt refinery resumes operation

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…PIB gets first reading at Senate

The Port Harcourt refinery with production capacity of 210,000 barrels per day has resumed operation after it stopped operation several months ago, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation has said.

According to spokesman to the NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad, the resumption is not in full capacity, because production is between three and five million litres daily.

NNPC announced earlier this month that it planned to restart its 110,000-barrel-per-day refinery in city of Kaduna by mid-April.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu last month said Nigeria was in talks with oil companies Chevron, Total and ENI seeking help to revamp the ailing refineries nationwide.

Since the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015, Nigerians have been anxiously expecting him to take decisive steps to tackle the rot in the system, most especially in the petroleum sector believed to be the main stay of the economy.

ALSO SEE: Buhari and NNPC: Did the minister say it’s cheaper to import petrol than refine locally?

Like the excitement that greets a bride while walking down the aisle, Nigerians were elated when the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) announced in June, 2015, that the four refineries – two in Port Harcourt, one in Kaduna and the other one in Warri would resume production in July 2015.

Ohi Alegbe, the then NNPC spokesperson said the refineries would resume after a successful turn-around-maintenance (overhaul) of their facilities ‘’the turn-around-maintenance has been on for some time. We did not just want to make any noise about it. The refineries will start production as soon as they have delivery of crude oil for refining,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Petroleum Industry Bill passed the first reading at the upper chamber of the National Assembly yesterday, raising the hope that bill may be taken serious this time by the lawmakers.

The PIB has been with the National Assembly since 2007 but due to ethnicity colouration and deep rooted sentiment by some lawmakers over some of its provisions, it has not been to pass the first reading.