Lagos — Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has expressed optimism that the country will end importation of petroleum products next year.
The minister said on Tuesday that the completion of rehabilitation work on the Port Harcourt Refinery will see the plant deliver 60,000 barrels per day of refined crude by the end of December while the Dangote Refinery in Lagos is expected to come on stream by the first half of next year to boost local supply of petroleum products.
His disclosure is coming at a time of biting fuel scarcity in many parts of the country, with fears that the forthcoming holiday period of Christmas and New Year would, as usual, be marred by scarcity of the product.
“We’re expecting that we will actually be exiting the importation of petroleum products from maybe about third quarter next year if I was to give it a longer timeframe, but I believe that even before the third quarter next year,” Sylva said, according to Reuters.
Nigeria’s production of crude had improved to about 1.3 million barrels per day from under 1 million barrels previously, and that the country hoped to meet its OPEC quota by May of next year, Sylva told reporters in Abuja.
Oil is Nigeria’s biggest export earner, but crude theft and vandalism of pipelines have cut oil and gas output, knocking the country from its spot as Africa’s top producer.
Nigeria swaps its crude for refined petroleum products but is in the process of modernising the Port Harcourt refinery at a cost of $1.5 billion.
With high global oil prices, Nigeria wants to refine its own fuels. Its previous efforts to revamp its refineries stalled, leaving it reliant on imports.