June 22, 2024

Port Harcourt refinery may not start operations until first quarter of 2024-  says  Professor Onyekonwu, ex-OGTAN Chairman

Professor Mike Obi Onyekonwu, former Director of the Institute of Petroleum Studies at the University of Port Harcourt,

…. when a plant is built, it must be tested technically- Chief Tamuno Akanugbo


Oredola Adeola


Professor Mike Onyekonwu, former Director of the Institute of Petroleum Studies at the University of Port Harcourt has hinted that the Port Harcourt refinery may not start operations in December as expected but could potentially become operational in the first quarter of 2024.


He made this known during a chat with EnergyDay, while providing valuable perspective on the ongoing efforts by the Nigerian Government to complete the Port Harcourt refinery and the expected timeline for its completion.


According to him, we are excited that a lot of work is ongoing in the facility.


“The pictorial evidence released so far has changed our perception because many of us thought that the allocation for the total repair of the facility has been squandered, the same way as the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the facilities,” he said.


He further said, “Of course, based on the documentary recently released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), it will be impossible for the refinery to commence in December.


Professor Onyekonwu also expressed optimism about the progress at the facility and the need for a test run after technical completion.


He stated, “I am very hopeful that by next year, maybe first quarter, the operation will be visible, and Nigerians will start enjoying output from the facility.”


He also highlighted the complexity of the refinery’s components and the necessity for a trial run before commercial production.


He said, “From an engineering standpoint, the NNPCL will need to test-run the facility after technical completion. This will sometimes take weeks or months. The refinery has so many components that must be put on trial before it can commence commercial operation.


“It will be difficult to tell how much work is required to kick start the facility, as well as how much that is left based on the evidence provided by the NNPC,” he stated.


Additionally, the ex-chairman of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) further revealed that the Nigerian Government has invested resources into modern refinery technology to improve the quality and standard of petroleum product output from the refinery.


According to him, “the output from the new refinery will likely surpass previous specifications, as it involves changing some components and minimizing waste.


“The new equipment installed in the Port Harcourt refinery will prevent the production of off-spec petroleum products. It is expected to improve the refinery’s efficiency and output,” he said.


He therefore stated that the technology in the refinery as shown in the documentary released by the NNPCL recently, will pave the way for the production of additional petroleum products like Liquified Petroleum Gas(LPG).


Meanwhile, Chief Tamuno Akanugbo, the joint relationship Chairman representing Okrika, River state, in a recent documentary released by the NNPCL, confirmed that the Port Harcourt refinery will begin functioning after undergoing technical testing and other necessary procedures.


He said, “The Port Harcourt refinery is set to commence operations soon. This plant can start any moment from now.


“When a plant is built, technically it must be tested, and people involved must do everything to make it function effectively.


“I think with the level of job that they (NNPC and contractors) have done; Nigerians should expect that soonest, we will get to the production stage,” Chief Akanugbo stated.