By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has signed the contract for the rehabilitation of the 210,000 barrels per day capacity Port Harcourt Refinery in Alesa-Eleme, Rivers State awarded to Milan based Tecnimont SpA worth $1.5 billion, inclusive of VAT and other statutory payments.
This followed the signing of the Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Commissioning (EPCIC) contract between both parties on Tuesday.
The rehabilitation project has a completion timeline of between 18 and 44 months under a three-phase arrangement.
Speaking on the signing, an elated Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, described the Port Harcourt Refinery rehabilitation project as a dream come true, noting that the project was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to the Nigerian people to make the refineries work.
Mr Kyari reiterated that in arriving at the choice of Tecnimont SpA, the corporation embarked on a transparent tender process that can withstand any forensic audit, noting that NNPC was ready and open to answering any question pertaining to the project.
He assured that the same transparent process has been emplaced for the rehabilitation of the Warri and Kaduna Refineries whose EPCIC contracts would be awarded in June 2021.
The GMD explained that the rehabilitation exercise was very different from a routine Turn-Around Maintenance as it would entail a total retrofitting of the plant with major part and equipment replaced with new ones.
Providing further insight into the project, Managing Director of Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited, Mr Ahmed Dikko, explained that Phases 1 and 2 of the project would get the refinery ready to receive hydrocarbon, while Phase 3 will focus on the start-up the refinery for operation, stressing that the entire work shall be delivered in 44 months from today.
In his remarks, Vice President, Sub-Saharan Africa Region of Tecnimont SpA, Mr Davide Pelizzola, pledged the readiness of his company to work assiduously with the NNPC to comply with the terms and obligations of the contract.
The signing ceremony of the PHRC rehabilitation project was witnessed by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers NUPENG amongst others.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) last month approved the sum of $1.5 billion for the immediate rehabilitation of the largest refining firm in the country, the Port Harcourt refinery and this was met with uproar from Nigerians who considered the project a white elephant.