President Bola Tinubu’s Minister, Heineken Lokpobiri, who heads the ministry of State for Petroleum (oil), has stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) should be held accountable if the deadline for rehabilitating Port Harcourt and Warri crude oil refineries is not met.
Speaking to journalists after the recent ministers’ retreat in Abuja, the Minister emphasized that NNPCL assured him that phase 1 of the refinery rehabilitation work would be completed, as part of the President’s directive. He explained that the rehabilitation of the refineries was initiated by the previous administration and that he had been briefed on the progress.
“Yes, the refinery’s rehabilitation, if you remember, was started by the previous administration and as part of the President’s directive. I have gone around all the refineries, and from what they have briefed me, Port Harcourt has three phases.”
“So Phase 1 will be ready by the end of this year. I am not the one who is directly in charge of rehabilitation; it is the NNPCL, and they have told me, and I am holding them accountable. “For the Warri refinery, they said Phase 1 will be ready by the end of the year. Phases 2 and 3 in Port Harcourt will be ready next year, and the whole Kaduna refinery will be ready by the end of next year.
“That is what they said, and I am holding them accountable for their words. I believe that those refineries, if we can achieve some level of rehabilitation by the end of this year, will also improve our domestic refining capacity. “That’s why I said unless we produce sufficient quantities, even if the refineries are rehabilitated, there will be no feedstock. So, my challenge is to ramp up production to see how we can feed not only the big refineries but also the modular ones. These are the real employers of labour, and they will do the magic,” he said.