Port Harcourt Refinery embarks on rehabilitation programme
The Managing Director of the company, Dr. Bafred Audu Enjugu, said last week in Port Harcourt, that the management of the company, with support of the parent Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), have embarked on rehabilitation of Area I which hosts the crude distillation unit (CDU) to pave way for simultaneous operations and upgrade of other units ahead of July when crude supply to the plant is expected to be restored.
According to Enjugu, Area I of the refining complex is prioritised because of process sequence while the optimization units such as the Catalytic Reformation Unit (CRU) and the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) are to be rehabilitated subsequently. The later units, he said, further process initial output of the CDU to produce premium products used for blending primary products of CDU to achieve products of high octane rating.
Enjugu explained that the contract could not progress when Technimont submitted outrageous charges and failed to provide performance guarantee for the job.
Pointing at the strategic economic and security importance of the refineries, Enjugu said that NNPC cannot give up on the refineries, and thus decided to mobilize its retired and active workforce as well as credible indigenous contractors with reputation of performance to take the challenge.
“The people are eager to prove that the plant can be recovered to full capacity, and I can tell you nobody knows the plant half as much as those who have spent their lifetime running it and maintaining it,” he pointed out.
On the standard of work, Enjugu said that all the technicians deployed in the work are skill certified, adding that their knowledge, experience, discipline and perseverance would be brought to bear on the job.
“On standards, I can tell you that it is more difficult not to comply than to comply,” he stressed, adding that the plants have sufficient intelligent sensors that call attention to errors, omissions and faults.
No lost time on injury is expected during the rehabilitation project, he explained, pointing out that safety experts from sister refineries of NNPC at Warri and Kaduna have been mobilised to Port Harcourt to assist during the entire period of the work.
On the values to be created by the ongoing rehabilitation of the plants, Enjugu pointed out that the strategy has afforded Nigerians the first full opportunity to handle a significant scope of refinery rehabilitation in the country, explaining that success of indigenous technicians at the job would resonate across Africa.
The Executive Director in charge of Operations at the Company, Engr. V. A. Ugochukwu, explained that the refinery had concentrated on production of low value products in the past because units that optimize full value production were not available due to long period without required Turn-Around Maintenance.
He said the company’s operations and maintenance team has robust experience to bring the plants to full operations, to add maximum value to crude oil, and pump out premium products to the market.
Executive Director in charge of Services at the complex, Ralph Ugwu, stated that the rehabilitation project is receiving full host community support and has seen unprecedented staff enthusiasm in tackling such an intricate and complicated challenge.
According to him, the rehabilitation work is to be carried out by indigenous workforce without compromising standards, adding that the project model would give full expression to the targets and objectives of the highly applauded Nigerian Content policy which, he explained, has been very successful in the upstream sector of the petroleum industry.