Nigeria expects to stop importing petroleum products before or around the third quarter of 2023, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has said.
Reuters quoted Sylva as saying that a refurbished refinery in the city of Port Harcourt in the oil-producing Niger Delta would be delivering 60,000 barrels per day of refined crude by the end of December.
The minister who was said to have spoken in Abuja, also said he still expects the new Dangote refinery to come on stream in the first quarter of next year.
However, aside the Port Harcourt facility, work has barely started at the Warri and the Kaduna refineries, which the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), had said would make the country a net exporter of petroleum products when they come on stream.
Although the Warri refinery is expected to be active by December 2023, the Kaduna refinery has no definite time for activity resumption and only the Port Harcourt refinery will be ready by Q3/2023, according to projections.
Figures from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) indicate that the national average daily consumption of premium motor spirit (PMS) also known as petrol remains at 60,000,000 llitre
“We’re expecting that we will actually be exiting the importation of petroleum products from maybe about third quarter next year if I was to give it a longer timeframe, but I believe that even before the third quarter next year,” Sylva said.
Reuters noted that Nigeria’s production of crude had improved to about 1.3 million barrels per day from under 1 million barrels previously, and that the country hoped to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota by May of next year.
Oil is Nigeria’s biggest export earner, but crude theft and vandalism of pipelines have cut oil and gas output, knocking the country from its spot as Africa’s top producer.
Nigeria swaps its crude for refined petroleum products but is in the process of modernising the Port Harcourt refinery at a cost of $1.5 billion.
With high global oil prices, Nigeria wants to refine its own fuels. Its previous efforts to revamp its refineries stalled, leaving it reliant on imports for years.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja with agency report