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Nigeria Makes Controversial Move to Rehabilitate its Refineries

The federal government of Nigeria has approved $1.5bn for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt oil refinery. The project, with Italian contractor Tecnimont, will be completed in three phases. The state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will take a minority stake in the refinery, but will gradually step away from operating Port Harcourt after the rehabilitation project, managing director Mele Kyari said in an interview with Channels TV. Nigeria has four government-owned refineries with a combined capacity of 445,000 barrels per day (bpd): one in Kaduna and three in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Warri and Port Harcourt. The Port Harcourt complex consists of two plants with a combined capacity of 210,000 bpd. However, the refineries have only been operating at a fraction of their capacity for decades, thereby making Africa’s largest producer of crude dependent on the importation of refined petroleum products for 70-80% of domestic consumption.