From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, approved $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery in Rivers State.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, made this known when he briefed State House Correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Sylva, who briefed alongside ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, said local content is fully involved in the job.
According to him, the rehabilitation will be done in three phases of 18, 24 and 44 months. The minister said the rehabilitation was in fulfilment of Federal Government’s desire to resuscitate the country’s refineries to reduce the cost of processing petroleum products as well as boost the economy.
He said: “We are happy to announce that the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery will commence forthwith. It is in three phases. The first phase is to be completed in 18 months, which will take the refinery to a production of 90 percent of its nameplate capacity.
“The second phase will be completed in 24 months and all the final stages will be completed in 44 months and consultations are approved.
“I believe this is good news for Nigerians. The rehabilitation of refineries have commenced.”
The minister also disclosed that an Italian company would undertake the repairs and a maintenance company would also be put in place, to ensure effective maintenance culture.
“The contractor that was approved by council today is Tecnimont, SPA of Italy.
“Talking about operations and maintenance, that has been a big problem for our refineries and that was also exhaustively discussed in council and the agreement is that we are going to appoint a professional operations and maintenance and operations company to manage the refinery when it is finally rehabilitated.
“It is actually one of the conditions presented by the lenders, because the lenders said they can give us the money if we have a professional operations and maintenance company and that already is embedded in our discussions with the lenders. We’re not going back on that,” he said.
Sylva said the needed fund for the rehabilitation work has been earmarked, saying the funding will be shouldered by the Federal Government, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and Africa Export-Import Bank AFREXIM.
He said rehabilitation works on Kaduna and Warri refineries would also be carried out on or before May 2023.
Ehanire said council approved N3.070 billion for six contracts for the purchase of various laboratory equipment by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control across the country.
Fasola, on his part, said council, approved the revised estimate total cost of the Enugu-Onitsha highway which is N8.649 billion.
The 22 kilometre section of the 100 kilometre road is being handled by Niger Construction in order to expedite conclusion of works.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, said council approved a memo that has to do with the reviewed National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan 2020 to 2043.