The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd has said that the Port-Harcourt refinery is 50 percent complete and will begin operation by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

The Chief Finance Officer of the Company, Umar Ajiya, made the revelation on Wednesday during an interview on Arise Newsnight.

The NNPC Ltd secured a facility from the African Import-Export Bank in November 2021 to rehabilitate the 210,000 barrels per day Port-Harcourt Refinery.

The project is expected to gulp $1.5bn as the state-owned company will also provide its equity funding.

The five-year project financing facility is expected to be repaid from the proceeds of crude oil sales.

Explaining issues on the refineries, Ajiya said so far, the company has secured a total of $2.744bn for various project financing for the company.

He gave a breakdown of the amount to include $1.04bn for rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery, $300m to buy Chevron assets, and the most recent which is $1.4bn funding for hydro-carbon.

Ajiya said, “We borrowed $1.04bn from AfreximBank for the rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt refinery. So, that loan, we have begun to draw down on it."

“On top of that, we have added our equity into it. But what is happening is that the rehabilitation plan is that by the end of Q1 2023, we should see area five begin to produce refined products for the Nigerian market, and then the remaining rehab will move up to 2024 because there are two refineries combined."

“So, in reality, today, we can say we are over 50 percent completion in terms of rehabilitation progress.”

The NNPC Finance Officer said with the refinery, more jobs will be created for Nigerians, while the importation of petroleum products will reduce drastically.

He said, “It is not just about the profit therefrom, jobs will be created and importation will be reduced if not eliminated completely because by the time all the rehabs are finished and Dangote is back, there is no how we will import any white products into Nigeria. Not even a drop of petrol."

“When it (Port Harcourt refinery) resumes operations, we are talking about thousands of jobs not hundreds of jobs. In addition to the O&M staff, there will be also NNPC direct staff and also there will be additional contract staff that will be used for routine maintenance as at when necessary.”

Ajiya also revealed that the cost of rehabilitating the Kaduna refinery which has been inactive for close to two decades will be determined soon.

He said, “As we speak, apart from Port Harcourt being under rehab now, we are also under rehab at Warri. The DAEWOO E&C contractor is there, and Tecnimont SpA (Italy) has moved to Kaduna to do the scoping. It is after the scoping that you can now formally contract.”

Source - The Whistle Newspaper.

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