The Completion Of The Port Harcourt Refinery’s Mechanical Rehabilitation; Accountability At Work

By Adewole Kehinde

“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt, or fear.”Dan Millman

On Thursday, December 21, 2023, delivery of the Port Harcourt refinery was all over the news as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company fulfilled its pledge to achieve the mechanical completion of rehabilitation work on Area 5 of the Port Harcourt Refining Company.

I recalled that on March 17, 2021, when the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery, I knew it would be achievable because of the honesty, transparency, and accountability of the then-Managing Director of the Port Harcourt Refining Company, Engr. Ahmed Dikko.

It was thus not surprising that the NNPC Limited would turn to Dikko, a man who, in the decades he has worked with the company, began with his first stint at Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company Limited, where he worked in the Operations and Engineering & Technical Services Departments. He has traversed units and departments within the NNPC Limited until finally rising to the position of Managing Director of the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC) in March 2020.

He was charged with the key task of delivering the rehabilitation project for the refinery and bringing its facilities to optimal production capacity and sustainable operations. Phase 1 of the rehab project, the integrity study and inspection, has been completed. The project was almost at completion with the signing of the EPC contract for the rehabilitation with Maire Tecnimont SpA and the subsequent technical kick-off meeting in May 2021.

Dikko had pushed the rehabilitation to over 65% completion before being further given the responsibility to advise the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of NNPC Limited on refinery rehabilitation.

In this role, he advised the GCEO on the rehabilitation of all the refineries owned by NNPC Limited. The other refineries—two in Port Harcourt and one in Warri and Kaduna, respectively—are currently undergoing one form of revamping or another. The aim is to bring back refining to the country in the shortest possible time.

I also recalled that the rehabilitation work has been ongoing at the refinery for over two years, and NNPC Ltd. had pledged to complete Phase One of the project (mechanical completion and flare start-up) at Old Port Harcourt Refinery (Area 5) by December 31, 2023.

Recently, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd., Mal. Mele Kyari said that as of December 15th, 2023, 84.4% of Area 5 Plant, a key component of the refinery, and 77.4% of the entire rehabilitation project had been completed.

In his words, “In our quest to ensure that this refinery is re-streamed to continue to deliver value to Nigerians, we made a promise that we will reach the mechanical completion of phase one of the rehabilitation project by the end of December and get the other plants running in 2024. Today, we have kept those commitments,” Kyari said.

I saw the joy in the face of the Chairman of the NNPC Ltd. Board, Chief Pius Akinyelure, as he described the milestone as historic, stressing that the board was proud of the staff and management of the refinery.

In his words, Akinyelure said, “We are just starting. We want to be at the highest production level so that we will keep the prices of petroleum in the country stable to comfort our people and generate more revenue for our country.”

Also speaking, the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said the milestone is another landmark of the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.

Kudos must go to the management of Tecnimont Nig. Ltd. for the timely delivery. No wonder the managing director, Fabio Del Cioppo, said his company remains committed to fulfilling the terms of the contract.

I understand that the milestone was achieved under an excellent Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) record, which stood at over 9.5 million manhours with zero loss time injury (LTI).

Truly, the PHRC rehabilitation project is an EPCIC project that covers the Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation, and Commissioning phases. For Area 5, the Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Installation have all been completed. The mechanical completion signifies the closure of the construction and installation phases.


Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached via 08166240846; e-mail: