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Fire outbreak won’t halt Port Harcourt refinery rehabilitation, says MD

By Obinna Nwaoku, Port Harcourt
03 January 2022   |   4:10 am
Managing Director of Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), Ahmed Dikko, has said he is on course in meeting the set date to completely rehabilitate the refinery, noting that the fire incident, which razed a discharging truck and pumps in the company on New Year’s Day, will not stop the ongoing project.

A worker at an oil refinery in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, Nigeria. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

Managing Director of Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), Ahmed Dikko, has said he is on course in meeting the set date to completely rehabilitate the refinery, noting that the fire incident, which razed a discharging truck and pumps in the company on New Year’s Day, will not stop the ongoing project.

He disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen at the refining company on yesterday morning.

Dikko showed newsmen around the burnt truck and pump bay, saying such an incident was a normal occurrence in any plant operations.

He noted that the measures put in place paid off as the fire was cordoned and prevented from spreading to other places.

Dikko said: “In our case, we are doing an operation where we are transferring naphtha into our receiving tanks and then there was a small spark on the pump, and that started a fire. Of course, you know naphtha is just like petrol. It is highly inflammable. The fire quickly engulfed the discharging trucks as well.

“We were able to mobilise our in-house firefighting equipment, personnel, and safety personnel as well, and we really tackled the fire to ensure we cordon it first and then put it out. We went further to invite the Federal Fire Service for backup in case it spirals out of hand.

“In the end, the damage that really happened was just to the pump bay, where we have like three pumps which we use for the discharge and then the discharging truck itself which burnt down completely. You can see the tyres that got burnt which led to that thick smoke that went out as if it was something out of the ordinary. But the damage is mainly on the pumps.”

He further explained that though the company was not in operation in terms of refining activities, other operations were going on there.

“We still do have operations here and there in the refinery that we carry out. We have to run and produce our power; we have to produce our water. We have to produce other utilities. So, it is not as if there is no activity going on. There are a lot of things still happening,” he stated.