10 August 2015, Lagos – Hope for Nigeria’s less-dependent on imported petroleum products has been renewed as the Port Harcourt Refinery will this week resume full production of petrol, when Chrome Oil Services Limited would have completed the rehabilitation of Area 3, where petrol, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and other lighter products are produced.
The 210,000 barrels per day capacity refinery had earlier started preliminary production with Unit 1 producing largely Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) and Automotive Gas (AGO), otherwise known as diesel.
The Chairman of the Chrome Group and multi-billionaire business mogul, Sir Emeka Offor, told journalists at the weekend that since 2000 when Chrome Consortium successfully completed the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of Port Harcourt Refinery, his company had remained in the refinery to provide massive maintenance services because of the satisfactory completion of the TAM.
Offor stated that his company was the lead partner in the consortium that carried out the TAM, which was certified by Shell Manufacturing Services, an international company that supervises TAM in refineries.
He stated that as a life-running plant, the refinery is supposed to have TAM every two years but noted that no TAM has been carried out since 2000.
According to him, since 2000, all the major activities, interventions and critical jobs in Port Harcourt Refinery have been done by Chrome, adding that the fact that the refinery is still running today is partly because of the jobs being done by Chrome.
Offor said his company had also done some intervention jobs in Kaduna Refinery, adding that the major Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) heater in Kaduna refinery was rehabilitated by Chrome Oil on time and on schedule.
He identified vandalism and lack of supply of crude oil as the twin-evils that contributed largely to the problems of the refineries.
“Vandalism would have caused part of these problems. If the refineries are not getting crude oil, may be, that is the reason the government did not deem it fit to make funds available for TAM. I know that TAM is very expensive. If you finish TAM and you don’t get crude to run the refinery, it is not economical. The two factors are that the refineries must get feed, and which means that we must make sure that the issue of vandalism is stopped. If the issue of vandalism is stopped, then we can hold government to monitor the pipelines. But Nigerians have to be educated too. In other countries, they have refineries, pipelines and cables and you don’t go to the United States or London or even in the Eastern Europe to cut pipelines. We have to talk to our people; if these two problems that go together are resolved, the refineries will work well,” Offor explained.
Offor also stated that crude oil is currently being supplied to Port Harcourt Refinery through marine vessels because of vandalism of pipelines.
Also speaking, the Project Manager of Chrome Group, Mr. Bombey Adigbara, noted that Chrome Oil Services Limited is one of the three contractors rehabilitating the Port Harcourt Refinery.
“In the new Port Harcourt Refinery, there are three basic units. The first is Area 1, that is, the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU), which is the entry point of Crude Oil. The equipment there will distillate the crude to generate Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), and Automotive Gas Oil (AGO). Some products of this first distillation are passed into the Vacuum Distillation Unit (VDU), which feeds the third unit, that is, Area 3, where PMS, LPG and other lighter products are produced. Unit 3 is where the crude is subjected to further cracking and distillation to get the lighter products. So, for you to get the refinery to run optimally, the two major units must be up and running up to throughput of 80 per cent. That has not been achieved over the years because of the TAM that has not been done. But we as Chrome has continued to sustain the plant to the level of production they are doing by carrying out maintenance of Area 1 and Area 3 all these years,” he said.
“At the moment, you must have heard that the refineries are undergoing some major repair work. We call it semi- TAM or Phase-Phase rehabilitation. That is why you hear that Port Harcourt Refinery has come on stream. Three companies participated in that major maintenance and we are still participating. The Number One is Chrome. At the moment, we are still doing the rehabilitation work because the refinery has started preliminary production, which means that it is Unit 1 that is producing. Unit 3 is being handled by Chrome and by next week, we will hand over that plant and the FCCU (Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit) will come up and if it comes up, you will start to experience high level of production of PMS in Nigeria because that is basically the PMS unit. So, all the critical jobs are being done by us,” Adigbara explained.
He further stated that the FCCU will work up to 95 per cent capacity when completed.
“Another major challenge in Port Harcourt Refinery before they built a new gas turbine was power generation. They have steam boilers that produce high pressure steam that turns the turbine originally built in 1987 when the new refinery was built. These turbines and boilers developed problems over the years due to the quality of the water going into the boiler. So, the major area of intervention of Chrome was to work on these boilers over the years to bring them to serviceability and workability to be able to sustain the refineries. We worked on those boilers and worked on the process plant,” Adigbara added.
The 210,000 barrels per day refinery is expected to exceed 80 per cent availability by first quarter of 2016 when all the units are expected to have been fully revamped and upgraded.
The contract for TAM of the refinery was planned to be handled by the original builders of the plant but the JGC of Japan, which built the plant could not honour the contract due to security concerns about Nigeria.
– This Day