By Sunday Ani
The managing director of the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), Ahmed Dikko, has pledged that he would deliver a fully rehabilitated and functional refinery to Nigerians in record time.
The assurance became imperative following the people’s loss of faith in the ability of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries, one of which includes the PHRC, to resuscitate the nation’s ailing refineries. This is because there have been several promises of turnaround maintenance of the refineries in the past, which were never fulfilled.
Rather than rehabilitate the refineries and refine products, Nigeria keeps importing finished petroleum products from other countries, forcing Nigerians to pay heavily for a commodity that ordinarily ought to be very cheap, since it is nature’s gift to them.
That is what an average Nigerian thinks when the issue of rehabilitation of any refinery is mentioned, but Dikko is assuring the nation that he and his team would change the narrative.
To ensure that he walks his talk, he has ensured that all staff of the company, no matter the department, alongside the host communities, are carried along as the rehabilitation work progresses.
To achieve cordial community relations, Dikko said the company, through its public affairs department, has done a lot of engagement with host communities.
He said: “Host communities’ engagement is one of the key priorities for the success of this project and PHRC management recognises this right from the early days of the award of this contract and has done a lot in this regard through public affairs. The first is to put out the information correctly about this project and the second is to manage the expectations of the communities.”
To achieve this, he is interfacing with the host community to create a conducive atmosphere for the successful completion of the exercise.
On steps so far taken, Dikko said all the processing plants and tanks have been made hydrocarbon-free and parts of the plants have been handed over to the contractors to commence work.
He said: “All the process plants (fuel plants 1 & 2), power plant and utilities, and jetty have been made hydrocarbon-free in readiness for plant handover. The cleaning of 10 outstanding storage tanks offsite is in progress, while wastewater treatment is still receiving all the waste coming out of the plant.”
He has assured Nigerians that the rehabilitation, which is being handled by Maire Tecnimont SpA, would be completed and delivered on schedule, starting with the old Port Harcourt Refinery that would be ready latest by September 2023.
On measures to ensure that the contractors deliver on their promises, he said: “We have provided tons of reliable information, which was required by the contractors to base their activities on. It is not a small thing, knowing full well that all specs of all equipment and everything therein that will make the contractors succeed have to be given. So, we have done that; we’ve given thousands of documents to the contractors.”
Rehabilitation work on PHRC commenced with the approval of $1.5 billion by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). That was followed by the signing of an agreement with the EPC contractors, Maire Tecnimont SpA; and the kick-off meeting held in Port Harcourt. Ever since, Nigerians have been expectant about the successful completion of the project.
Today, Dikko’s is assuring Nigerians that the PHRC will not disappoint them this time around.
“So, I can only appeal to everybody around PHRC, and indeed, NNPC, to contribute and dedicate anything possible to make sure that this project succeeds, because Nigerians are waiting and we cannot afford to fail,” he said.