Encomium As Port Harcourt Refinery Set To Refine 60000 BPSD By Q1 2023

By Adewole Kehinde

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, on Tuesday, visited the Port Harcourt refinery to assess ongoing rehabilitation work.

In the entourage of the Minister were the Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, Margery Okadigbo, and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari.

The Federal Government commenced the process of rehabilitating the ailing and under-performing refiner in March last year by approving a sum of $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery.

Last year, the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Mele Kyari, announced to the nation that the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) would be coming alive in no time.

The first phase is expected to be completed in 18 months, bringing the refinery up to 90 percent of its nameplate capacity.

The second phase is expected to be completed in 24 months, and the final stage will be completed in 44 months.

The project is being jointly funded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company’s internally generated revenue, budgetary allocation provisions, and Afreximbank, respectively.

The Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has expressed satisfaction with the pace of work at the refinery, meaning that Engr. Ahmed Dikko has done excellently.

PHRC produces Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Kerosene (aviation and domestic), Automotive Gas Oil (AGO-diesel), Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO), and High Pour Fuel Oil (HPFO).

While the company manufactures unleaded gasoline that meets international standards, it also has in-house firefighting capabilities.

The plant has been shut down for a comprehensive rehabilitation that would ensure the refinery produces at a minimum of 90%. Maire Tecnimont, an Italian firm and representative of the Original Refinery Builder, is handling the rehabilitation expected to be fully completed in 40 months. The exercise has commenced and is ongoing.

Brief Profile

The PHRC is an NNPC subsidiary in business to optimally process hydrocarbon into petroleum products for the benefit of all stakeholders. The company’s vision is to be an innovative international hydrocarbon processing company of choice.

PHRC houses about 47% of Nigeria’s in-country refining capacity. It is one of the three refineries owned by the Federal Government. The others are Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) and the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC). Operating at full capacity, PHRC produces 11.5 million liters of Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) daily; 5 million liters of Kerosene, and over 9 million liters of diesel per day. The refinery is expected to operate at least at 90% of its installed capacity after the ongoing rehabilitation.

PHRC Limited is made up of two refineries. The old refinery was commissioned in 1965 with a current nameplate capacity of 60,000 barrels per stream day (bpsd) and the new refinery was commissioned in 1989 with an installed capacity of 150,000 bpsd. This brings the combined crude processing capacity of the Port Harcourt Refinery to 210,000 bpsd. It has five (5) process areas – Areas 1-5. The new refinery is made up of Areas 1-4 while the old refinery is Area 5.

Area 1 is made up of the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) and the Vacuum Distillation Unit (VDU).

Area 2 is made up of Naphtha Hydrotreating Unit (NHU), where naphtha is hydro-desulphurized; the Catalytic Reforming Unit (CRU), responsible for upgrading naphtha to reformate which has a higher octane value; the kero Hydrotreating Unit (KHU) where kero is treated to make it acceptable for aviation use: Area 2 also has the Continuous Catalyst Regeneration Unit, which constantly reactivates the deactivated catalyst from the reformer. Other units in Area 2 include the Hydrogen Purification, Fuel Gas Vaporizer, Sour Water Treatment, and Caustic Treatment units.

Area 3 is made up of a Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU), where Vacuum Gas Oil (VGO) and heavy diesel oil are cracked to obtain more valuable products, like PMS and LPG. Other units in Area 3 include the Gas Concentration, Gas Treating, and Mercaptan Oxidation units.

Area 4 has three process units namely Dimersol, Butamer Isomerisation, and Alkylation units. The units are designed to produce high octane gasoline blend components.

Area 5, which is the old refinery, is made up of the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU); the Platform Unit (CRU), the LPG Unit, as well as utility section.

The platformer (CRUII) processes the straight Run Naphtha from CDU II. Unlike the continuous Catalytic Reforming Unit (CCRU) of NPHR, this plant is of the semi regenerative with a fixed catalyst bed and the catalyst regeneration is carried out inside the reactor after a long period of operation.

The refinery is self-sufficient in power and utilities generated from the Power Plant & Utilities. There are four (4) turbo-generators each with a capacity of 14MW of electricity per hour and four (4) Boilers, capable of generating 120 tons of steam each per hour. The section also generates cooling/service water, plant / instrument air and nitrogen. Following a 20-year power purchase agreement between NNPC and Genesis Electricity Limited, PHRC has three TM2500 + Gas turbines installed. The TM2500+gas turbines provide both the baseload and backup power to support refining operations.

Main Process Control Room

The refineries’ operations are controlled by a Distributed Control System (DCS) which continuously monitors the plants’ operating parameters, information on operating conditions such as flow rates, levels, temperatures, and pressures are gathered and displayed on the computer consoles from which plant operators monitor and adjust unit conditions.

The refinery has a pool of maintenance personnel that takes care of routine, programmed, and emergency repairs of equipment.

There is also the Supply Chain Management Department that oversees the procurement and storage of needed spare parts and chemicals.

Recently, a Commercial Department has been established to coordinate the commercialization of some of the products of the Refinery.

The Finance and Accounts Division is responsible for recording all financial transactions, ensuring inflow and outflow of funds, and preparation of financial reports to aid management decisions. It’s divided into three (3) departments namely Treasury, Management, and General accounts. Other sections are Insurance and commercial.

Speaking on the work progress of the rehabilitation exercise, the minister said the plant would refine 60,000 barrels of crude per stream day (bpsd) when it resumes operations.

“This project kicked off second quarter last year, and where they are now is quite impressive. It is on schedule,” Sylva said.

“The commitment is to deliver 60,000 barrels per day from this refinery by the first quarter of next year, and, of course, we are quite happy.

The Minister assured that the Federal Government would end all forms of illegal oil bunkering going on in the Niger Delta.

Sylva said the modular refinery programme of the FG was also on course, urging people to take advantage of the programme.

He, however, said modular refinery should be separated from the illegal oil refining taking place in the Niger Delta, resulting in the soot pandemic in Port Harcourt and its environs.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari had inaugurated a modular refinery in Imo State last year.

Adewole Kehinde is the Publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached via 08166240846, 08123608662 kennyadewole@gmail.com

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