The Federal Government has said that the Port Harcourt refinery, which was initially scheduled to start operations in December 2022, will now start operations before the end of the first quarter of 2023.

Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited group managing director Mele Kyari revealed this Monday in Abuja during the regime scorecard series of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) hosted by the Federal Ministry of Information. .

Giving the reasons for the delay, Kyari said: “The promise was to get the fuel plant up and running, which is the 60,000 barrel per day (bpd) component of this activity by the last quarter of 2022, but it’s not practical. So, we will start it in the first quarter of 2023, otherwise all other processes are ongoing.”

Elaborating on the status of the refinery, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said: “The rehabilitation of the 60,000 barrels per day is being completed and it will start in the first quarter.”

Speaking about the FG’s planned cessation of the importation of petroleum products into the country in 2023, Sylva noted that the Dangote refinery, which has a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, and modular refineries across the country, contributed to the plan.

He said some modular refineries, such as the Waltersmith modular refinery, where NNPC has a 30 percent stake, and the Duport modular refinery, where NNPC also has a 30 percent stake, would also start operations in 2023, promising a significant reduction in the importation of petroleum derivatives.

Sylva also noted that the fuel subsidy was not sustainable, adding that prices for petroleum products should be market driven in Nigeria, as in other countries where products are sold above the current official PMS price of Nigeria to N180 per litre, according to a report from Nairametry.

The Minister had, in November 2022, Announced that the Port Harcourt Refinery, which has been undergoing redevelopment at a cost of $1.5 billion, and which is projected to deliver 60,000 barrels per day of refined crude, would begin operations at the end of December 2022.