• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Port Harcourt refinery ready to restart as marketers eye price reduction

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN) have projected a marginal reduction in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol upon the commencement of operations at the Port Harcourt Refining Company next month.

IPMAN and MEMAN expressed their readiness to commence loading products from the Port Harcourt facility while urging the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to fulfill its commitment to pumping refined products from the refinery within two weeks.

Abubakar Maigandi, the national president of IPMAN, emphasised the preparedness of marketers to commence lifting products, stating, “Immediately we received the information, we told all our members to start preparing for loading, especially those in the South-South region of the country, because it is closer to them.”

Maigandi highlighted the expected reduction in petrol prices, albeit marginal, once operations at the refinery begin. He highlighted the significance of this reduction, emphasising its positive impact on market availability and employment generation.

“Price reduction is obvious when they start releasing products, and there will be availability because it would serve as support to the imported products,” he said.

The IPMAN president welcomed the prospective employment opportunities that would arise from the refinery’s operations, affirming, “The commencement of operations there will create more employment for Nigerians.”

Earlier announcements from Mele Kyari, the group managing director of NNPCL, have confirmed the imminent commencement of operations at the Port Harcourt refinery.

Kyari assured stakeholders that mechanical works on the refinery had been completed, with crude oil already stocked for processing.

Kyari reassured, “We now have crude oil already stocked in the refinery. We are doing regulatory compliance tests that must happen in every refinery before you start it, and I assure you that this Port Harcourt refinery will start in the next two weeks.”

In addition, Clement Isong, the Executive Secretary of MEMAN, echoed IPMAN’s sentiments regarding the readiness of major oil marketers to procure products from the refinery. Isong emphasised the significance of the refinery’s operations in reducing dependency on imported petroleum products.

He remarked, “On price reduction, this is going to be marginal, because the product is being produced in Nigeria,” indicating a measured optimism regarding the impact on prices.

Kyari provided insight into the current stock levels at the Port Harcourt refinery, disclosing that over 450,000 barrels of oil had been stocked, affirming the readiness of the plant to deliver refined products to the market. He also addressed security concerns, noting that the government was actively responding to the situation.

The Federal Government had previously announced the mechanical completion of the Port Harcourt refinery in December 2023, with assurances that products from the plant would reach the market before the end of that year. However, delays ensued, prompting heightened anticipation for the commencement of operations.

As Nigeria awaits the production of refined petroleum products from its domestic refineries, stakeholders are hopeful that the imminent commencement of operations at the Port Harcourt refinery will mark a significant step towards reducing dependency on imported petroleum products.