Epileptic Power Supply Cripples Port Harcourt Refinery
The worsening electricity problem in the country has reduced prodution at the Port Harcourt Refinery to near zero level owing to frequent Power outages, THISDAY investigation has revealed.
A source at the Refinery told THISDAY at the weekend that efforts to bring the plant back on stream since last year, after the repair of its damaged processing units had been hampered due to Power Supply constraints.
The source said, aside from Power hiccups, which have worsened since last month, most of the vital units of the Refinery are in very bad condition.
It said given the dilapidated state of the refinery, it would take a complete overhaul for it to be brought back on stream.
A document obtained from the Petroleum Ministry at the weekend revealed that the new Port Harcourt Refinery had undergone Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) exercise only three times since it was commissioned 23 years ago. The last TAM was executed in 2000. For the old Port Harcourt Refinery, which was commissioned in 1965, the first and only major rehabilitation work on it took place in 1989, while its only TAM was carried out in 1998.
The Nigerian National Petro-leum Corporation (NNPC)in 2010 announced plan to get the original contractors who built all the units of the plant to carry out the fourth TAM.
The move THISDAY learnt was to ensure total refurbishment of the ailing plant. The corporation, it was learnt, may shelve the idea, as efforts to get the original contractors has proved abortive.
THISDAY also gathered that the last TAM exercise on the 125,000 bpd Warri Refinery, which was commissioned in 1978 took place in 2004.
Managing Director of the Port Harcourt Refinery, Mr. Anthony Ogbuigwe disclosed recently that the management had placed orders for the long lead materials and commenced site preparation in preparation for the Refineries’ fourth TAM exercise planned for October 1 to November, this year.
He said, the exercise, which would include some major rehabilitation work was designed to restore the plant to its name plate capacity.
``PHRC plants have operated now for 12 years without TAM and this has caused the equipment to deteriorate and operate on very low efficiency, unsafe state and may lead to catastrophe if not addressed. This rehabilitation work is designed to check that,’’ Ogbuigwe said.
It is envisaged that the scope of work would include, clean-out of various pieces of process plants, Power plant, oil movement equipment, as well as the inspection of repair of static and rotating equipment in the old and new Port Harcourt refineries among other works.
The old Port Harcourt Refinery was expanded to 60,000bpd in 1972 and the new Refinery commissioned in 1989 with an installed capacity of 150,000 (bpsd). This brings the combined crude processing capacity of to 210,000 bpd. The NNPC about a fortnight ago announced that production of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) at the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, (KRPC) had hit a 10 year high of over 2.5 million litres per day. The combined installed capacity of all the refineries is 445,000 bpd
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