After Dangote, Nigeria’s Oldest Refinery Begins Operation, Video Shows Workers Jubilating

After Dangote, Nigeria’s Oldest Refinery Begins Operation, Video Shows Workers Jubilating

  • Good news for Nigeria as video shows that Port Harcourt refinery is now ready to begin operation
  • The start of operation in the Port Harcourt refinery is in fulfilment of the federal government's promise
  • The refinery is expected to refine 210,000 barrels per day and add more competition to the refining sector

The long-awaited Port Harcourt refinery is now ready, fulfilling the federal government's promise that operation will start in December 2023.

In a video update, the refinery lights were turned on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.

Nigerian refinery
Finally lights turn on at Port Harcourt refinery Photo credit: NNPC
Source: UGC

According to a video uploaded on X, the refinery's flare indicated the commencement of oil refining.

This is coming months after the minister of state for petroleum (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, disclosed in August that the Port Harcourt refinery will commence operation in December 2023.

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The minister said the objective is to ensure the country stops importing fuel.

Nigeria is ready to be self-sufficient had earlier reported that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) declared that importing petroleum products into the country would cease by December 2024.

The group chief executive officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, said,

“I can confirm to you that by the end of December this year, we will start the Port Harcourt refinery; early in the first quarter of 2024, we will start the Warri refinery, and by the end of 2024, Kaduna refinery will come into operation."

The commencement of the Port Harcourt refinery, which cost the federal government $1.5 billion to rehabilitate, along with several modular refineries and the Dangote refinery, gives hope that this achievement can be realised.

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Meanwhile, Nigerians will be hoping that the good news of refineries starting operations will signal a reduction in the price of fuel, which currently averages N650 per litre.

Expert speaks

Reacting to the development and what it means for pump prices for Nigerians, John Erinne the past president of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, said it is not yet time to cheer as he refinery is not ready to begin processing crude.

His words:

" Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation & Commissioning (EPCIC) encompasses the comprehensive framework necessary to transition the refinery from a dormant state to operational functionality. Based on the government announcement, it signifies the completion of all four phases
"What is left is the commissioning, and after that, the refinery will now be ready to process crude.
"The commission face is the testing of the facility to make sure it is ready to begin operation.
"Going by the announcement by NNPC, the refinery is ready for commissioning but not for operation. It could take up to 3 months before we begin to see produce from Portharcourt refinery."

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The refinery, which has postponed production twice, began production amid the outpouring of congratulatory messages from Nigerians.

The refinery management confirmed it had received its first crude oil shipment from the Agbami oil field operated by Chevron.

A video of a ship loaded with crude oil was circulating on social media. It was believed to be the shipment meant for Africa's largest refinery.


Dave Ibemere avatar

Dave Ibemere (Senior Business Editor) Dave Ibemere is a senior business editor at He is a financial journalist with over a decade of experience in print and online media. He also holds a Master's degree from the University of Lagos. He is a member of the African Academy for Open-Source Investigation (AAOSI), the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and other media think tank groups. He previously worked with The Guardian, BusinessDay, and headed the business desk at Ripples Nigeria. Email:

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