Nigerians Express Expectations On Port-Harcourt Refinery

Expectations of citizens are very high for the commencement of the production at the Port Harcourt Refinery. Business owners around the Port Harcourt refinery are not happy over government inability to start up operations at the Port Harcourt refinery despite several promises. The traders stated this in reaction to last week announcement by the managing director of the NNPC LTD. You would recall that the managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company LTD Mele Kyari says the Port Harcourt refinery will begin operation in about two weeks. Mr. Kyari said this at a media briefing after he appeared before the Senate Adhoc committee investigating the various turn around maintenance project of the countries refineries. He said the mechanical works have been completed on the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries.

A cross section of Rivers residents who spoke with our reporters are of the opinion that it is another fruitless promise of the government that can never be achieved. However, some respondent are optimistic that their business will improve and jobs will be created for the youths once the refinery is functional.They equally expect that once the refineries become operational the prices of the petroleum products will come down to the reach of the common man.

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An environmentalist right activist Celestine AkpoBari told our reporters that he will not take the Federal Government serious untill he sees actual production. He also said that the Federal Government does not have the political will to start production at the Port Harcourt refinery.

On his part, the executive director of the Youths and Environment Advocacy Center Fyneface Dumnamene doubted the sincerity of the Federal Government to start production at the Port Harcourt refinery. He said the promise is not the first and will not be the last, that it is one of those comments that they always make and nothing happens at the end of the day. He however advised the NNPC not to bother about announcing that the refinery will work in two weeks or anytime soon or anytime later but allow the people see products coming out of the refineries. Stating that what Nigerians wants is a situation whereby the products from the refinery will be available to crash the prices of PMS, HGO and DPK imported into the country or locally refined

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Meanwhile, an energy expert Dr. Joseph Obele says he believes that the federal government can stay true to it’s promise this time around. He is basing his judgement on the level of job so far done at the Port Harcourt refinery. He revealed that he was at the facility recently and observed that work progress at the old refinery which has a capacity of fifty thousand barrels per day is at 98% completion. Although he also said that the new refinery with the capacity of 200 thousand barrels per day could be completed early or late next year, 2025.

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Speaking with a senior operator in the refinery, Godspower Samuel said with the level of work achieved, the refinery will start work within the shortest possible time, and when it start working, everything will be lesser.

By Nzeuzor Jane & Bestman Orji. PH