Minister Of State For Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu Lauds Commitment And Sacrifices Of Workers At The Port Harcourt Refining Company For Bringing The Refinery Back On Stream
Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Limited will this week activate all its process units as Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) battles to meet legislative mandate to restore supply normalcy in the domestic fuel market.
The start-up follows the completion of repair work at the refinery’s crude distillation unit where one of the columns collapsed and compelled a shutdown of the 210, 000 barrels per day refinery. The situation had worsened scarcity in a market that was suffering supply gaps following the withdrawal of private marketers from importation.
According to records at NNPC, the refinery experienced a major failure of its Crude Distillation Column in October while production was on-going, a situation that resulted in a shut-down of all the process plants.
According to sources at NNPC, restoration of the plant would normally have required urgent intervention from foreign experts and huge replacement costs. Parts that would have been imported are estimated at N640 million while delivery and mobilization of contractors to site would have taken several months, a source pointed out.
However, with the pressing need to return to operations in the face of the prevailing fuel crisis in the country, PHRC management took the challenge directly by repairing defective parts incountry while utilizing over 150 host community youths in the process that conforms with existing community empowerment commitments.
During the period, the entire workforce was mobilized and involved in the process while inspectors from sister Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) and Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) respectively were invited for support.
Key personnel were relocated to the company’s proximate Lifecamp while all vacations were called off to bring all hands on deck as work progressed day and night all week.
When hit with cash flow constraints, workers of the refinery, including security guards, drivers, contract and support staff, responded to call for personal contributions to avert an impending downtime, and N5.5 million was raised to procure critical materials without waiting for fund release from government.
With the restoration of activities at the plant, substantive supply of the highly demanded premium motor spirit popularly called petrol will now be produced in-country to augment imported volumes and help address concerns about impending yuletide fuel demands.
According to sources at NNPC’s townhall meeting weekend, Group Managing Director, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, credited the speedy repairs at the refinery to total dedication, commitment and patriotism of the management and staff of the refinery.
He also applauded the team spirit that played during the delivery of the job when key technical crew heads at sister refineries rushed to offer assistance to ensure a total indigenous content and demonstrate a formidable in-house capacity for the job.
Dr. Kachikwu who is also the Minster of State for Petroleum Resources paid tribute to the personal sacrifices made by all categories of the refinery’s staff who, according to the management report, made financial contributions to bridge funding gaps created by cash flow hitches associated with the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the new revenue flow model introduced by the federal government.
In making reference to the repair job, Dr. Kachikwu projected the Port Harcourt refinery as the sign post of his leadership team’s performance concept in running the corporation’s new businesses model.
– Sopuruchi Onwuka