The Senate Ad-Hoc Committee to Investigate the Turnaround Maintenance of Nigeria’s Refineries has said that the upgrade and full rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery is at 90 per cent completion and expected to commence operation before the end of the year.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah (representing Anambra South Senatorial District) disclosed this in Port Harcourt Friday night when he led members of the committee on a courtesy visit to the Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara.

Senator Ubah’s announcement is coming on the heels of a similar announcement by members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) that the plant has largely been completed.

The oil marketers through its Port Harcourt branch Chairman, Tekena Ikpaki, told journalists that the plant would start releasing products any time soon, based on their visit to the facility, as well as information from members working at the refinery.

He noted that the management of the refinery had also assured dealers that the plant would begin operations soon.

Senator Ubah, who said his committee was in Port Harcourt to investigate the work that has been done and assess the level of preparedness of both the old and new Port Harcourt Refineries to recommence operations, gave no specific time for the commencement of operations by the refinery.

He said, “We will recall that the old Port Harcourt Refinery was the first refinery in Nigeria built in 1965, and the second one was built in 1989. And for so long now, they have not been in active operations.

“And with the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President, and also the desire of Nigerians and our determination; the Senate led by our President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, we had a resolution in the Senate to look at it and make sure that Nigeria’s refineries are working so that we shouldn’t be depending on importation of petroleum products”, he said.

Senator Ubah stressed: “And that is one of the reasons that we are here, and as well to look into the contract and investigate the level of compliance vis-a-vis the contract specifications.

“We are pleased to note that what we saw is most encouraging as the refinery upgrade and full rehabilitation is almost at 90 percent completed. We are confident that the refinery will soon be operational before the end of the year”.

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Addressing the committee, Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, stated that his administration was working in tandem with President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government’s policies designed to make life better for Nigerians through the Renewed Hope Agenda.

He stated that in doing so, the Woji-Aleto-Alesa-Refinery Road, now 70 per cent completed, was being constructed to provide a bypass to easily access the Port Harcourt Refinery and take off traffic from the East-West Road.

The Governor said the purpose of governance was to make life easy for the people and expressed delight that the Senate Committee’s investigation would result in making life easy and meaningful for Nigerians.

“We, as a State, before the commencement of the rehabilitation job, had a contribution that we wanted to make to support the work at the refinery because of the deplorable state of the East-West Road.

“There is a road: Woji-Aleto-Alesa Refinery Road. We are almost completing the bridge. It’s about 70 percent completed. We are doing almost the last part of it. With that road, it will help to decongest and reduce the trouble commuters face along the East-West Road while providing easy access, straight to the refinery.

“So, you can see that our Government is working in line, supporting the Administration of President Bola Tinubu to give our people hope and assurance that things will soon get better.

“And it is this role that you are playing, genuinely. And with the support of this State Government, that is the only way we can achieve the purpose of governance for everyone.

“The purpose of governance is to make life easy for the people. I am happy that your investigation would result in making life easy for the people,” he explained.

Governor Fubara pointed to the derivable benefits when the refinery is eventually revamped and becomes operational, both to the Federal Government and host Rivers State.

“When the refinery restarts production, there will be petroleum products available locally. The issue of importation will go down. We will now make impact, economy will grow, internally generated revenue will increase. More projects will be executed in this State. You can see that it’s a chain effect thing. So, I want to thank you”, he said.