The major contractor handling key rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery, Chrome Oil Services, has assured that importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol will drop by about 40 percent as critical unit of the refinery begins operation this week.
The company is among other contractors carrying out overhaul work at the facility as government takes giant steps to revamp the country’s four refineries in a bid to address the lingering fuel scarcity.
Executive Chairman of the group, Emeka Offor said that a critical constituent of the refinery, the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU), where Vacuum Gas Oil (VGO) and heavy diesel oil (HDO) are cracked to obtain more valuable products, like FCC gasoline used as pms blend and Light Cycle as blend component for low pour fuel oil (LPFO) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will resume full operations this week.
Offor, confirmed to journalists that restoration work at the FCC has reached 98 percent conclusion and will come on stream before end of the week.
The chairman, assured that when it becomes fully operational, the unit will concentrate on the production of petrol which will also go a long way of reducing importation of the product as well as resolve the lengthened petrol scarcity.
He said that lack of Turn-Around-Maintenance (TAM) of the existing refineries in the country had contributed to the unrelenting scarcity of fuel in Nigeria.
‘Over time, the refineries are working but below installed capacity, the last TAM was done in 2000 and this is exercise that should be carried out every two years’, Offor said, adding that inability of the refineries to refine at capacity further complicated fuel supply situation across major cities in the country.
He attributed the problem to vandalisation of pipeline infrastructure which transports crude oil to the refineries and lack of TAM to sustain product refining capacity of the refineries.
‘We have outstandingly provided urgent situation repair work at both Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries and the vital technical and engineering services we have turned into have guaranteed the continuous running of those refineries to make sure they are not totally grounded’ he said.
The chairman, noted that over the years, ‘we have made tremendous inroads into the oil and gas industry, through the servicing of refineries, petrochemical plants, and rehabilitation of jetties, tanks and installation of oil and gas facilities; all in conjunction with our technical partner.
All these culminated in the award of the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) contract of both the old and the new Port Harcourt Refineries in Nigeria to Chrome Consortium – a consortium of firms headed by Chrome Oil Services – the first indigenous oil service firm to execute such a project’.
He said that with strategic alliances, joint ventures and consortiums with major International engineering and construction companies, Chrome Oil Services is poised to become a vital contributor to Nigeria’s infrastructure.
The old refinery commissioned in 1965 with current nameplate capacity of 60,000 barrels per stream day (bpd) and the new refinery commissioned in 1989 with an installed capacity of 150,000 bpd, brings the combined crude processing capacity of the Port Harcourt Refinery to 210,000.