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NNPC Begins Search For Private Operators To Mantain Refurbished Port Harcourt Refinery

“We will bring in the private sector so they can take equity in this refinery, and then we continue to grow that business.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) on Monday, called for Expression of Interest (EOI) from qualified oil and gas firms for the operation and maintenance of the newly refurbished Port Harcourt refinery.

In a notice to its would-be clients, the national oil company stated that when the process is completed, the outcome would help improve dependability and sustainability to meet the country’s fuel supply and energy security requirements.

In 2021, Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mele Kyari, stated that the federal government was considering a plan to become a minority shareholder in the beleaguered oil refineries.

That was after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) signed off on a $1.5 billion rehabilitation plan, funded largely by Afrexim Bank as well as from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by NNPC, for the Port Harcourt refining complex, which has a capacity of 210,000 barrels per day.

Kyari told Reuters at the time, “Our considered view…is to go to what we call the NLNG model, where NNPC becomes a minority holder in the asset. We will bring in the private sector so they can take equity in this refinery, and then we continue to grow that business.”

In a separate statement, NNPC said the “operate & maintain” model was “one of the key requirements by the lender” for the Port Harcourt project.

The national oil company said in a public notice, “The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited is seeking to engage reputable and credible Operations & Maintenance (O&M) companies to operate and maintain one of its refineries, Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), to ensure reliability and sustainability towards meeting the nation’s fuel supply and energy security obligations.”

In December, NNPC said it had concluded the “mechanical completion” of the 60,000 bpd part of the 210,000-capacity plant, after several years of abandonment. The refinery is expected to begin to have its products in the market anytime from the end of this month.

In the public notice Monday, among others, NNPC stated that any company applying to operate and maintain the plant must present its audited accounts between 2019 and 2022 as well as demonstrate a minimum average annual turnover of $2 billion between 2019 and 2022.

The Port Harcourt refinery rehabilitation project, which costs about $1.5 billion, covers engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning phases.

NNPC said for Area 5, the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation had all been completed.

The mechanical completion last December, NNPC said, signified the closure of the construction and installation phases.

THISDAY recalls that the rehabilitation work had been ongoing at the refinery for over two years.

Emmanuel Addeh

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