By Anthony Okafor
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has commenced revamping of the Port Harcourt Refining Company, PHRC, under the first phase of the Refineries’ Rehabilitation Project.
The refineries rehabilitation project according to the company, is aimed at ensuring total restoration of the refineries from their current condition back to a minimum of 90 per cent nameplate capacity utilization by end of 2020.
Speaking at the flag off of the project in Port Harcourt, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, stated that the rehabilitation, which would be in two phases, would be done in conjunction with the ENI and the original builders of the refineries, adding that the roles of the original refineries builders would be to review and upgrade the refineries, automate it and introduce latest instrumentation.
He explained that the first phase of the rehabilitation process would last for six month, noting however, that the NNPC had been encouraged to complete the project before the stated period.
Baru noted that during the rehabilitation project, the Port Harcourt refineries, which had not undergone Turnaround Maintenance, TAM, since 2000, would have all its equipments opened up, while all its flow systems would be reviewed.
He said, “We will also look at all the flushes, the transmissions, essentially, this is one thorough inspection and where infringement is minimal, it will be fixed and we close back the system.”
Baru disclosed that the NNPC had put in place a very robust plan to ensure the repair of all the country’s refineries at the most cost effective rate.
He noted that the NNPC Joint Venture partners would supply the needed equipment for the rehabilitation on credit, with the NNPC paying later for the equipment.
“That is a lot of grace instead of waiting on manufacturers. This equipment, if we want to manufacture them, it will take 36 months. They have offered not only that they will give us a lead time, but it will also be a discount because they will give us at the price they are purchased. The time value of money will also be a saving for NNPC and Nigeria, as a whole.
“They will come in to open up the various equipments, they know exactly what they are looking for and if they found that some of it is eroded and some are not as expected, then it makes it very easy to say that it is outside the design and it should be replaced.”
Baru further disclosed that several critical units of the refineries, such as the steam unit, a major heating element, were currently not working, adding that only one out of the four steam units of the Port Harcourt Refinery was working, making it difficult to power the refinery unit.
Also speaking, Chief Operating Officer, Upstream of ENI, Mr. Anthonio Vella, stated that the partnership with the NNPC in rehabilitating the refinery was a reflection of its longstanding partnership with Nigeria.
Specifically, he explained that the rehabilitation programme would involve a significant upgrade, with equipment and machines being opened for inspection and repairs.
He said, “In order to increase the performance of the Port Harcourt refinery, ENI will share with NNPC the knowledge and experience gained in decades of managing owned and participated refineries both in Italy and abroad.”
He added that the rehabilitation would be an opportunity for NNPC staff recently trained in Italy to showcase their skills, while he cautioned the workers to ensure there’s zero accident during the period of the project.