NNPC to hand over Port Harcourt refinery to private firm as operation begins


The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, has called for Expression of Interest, EOI, from qualified oil and gas firms to operate and maintain the Port Harcourt refinery.

In a public notice, NNPCL said the process would help improve dependability and sustain Nigeria’s fuel supply and energy security requirements.

The country’s oil company said the “operate & maintain” model was “one of the key requirements by the lender” for the Port Harcourt project.

According to NNPCL 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, NNPCL announced 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 2021, NNPCL Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, said 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.

In the public notice Monday, among others, NNPCL 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 cost about $1.5 billion, covers engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning phases.

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