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NIGERIA - Port Harcourt - Rivers State.

Originally conceived as an export refinery, this plant has a capacity of 150,000 b/d and is relatively the best in the sector. It came on stream in 1989. Fuel oil produced at the plant is partly exported, while clean products are for local use. The refinery supplies most of northern and eastern Nigeria's products, in normal conditions providing almost half of the country's gasoline and jet fuel needs. In the early 1990s, it was the only supplier of products to the Nigerian markets, with the other plants all affected by fires, strikes and riots. The refinery was damaged during violent riots and a strike in 1993 and was operating at half capacity in early 1994, one of the main reasons for a severe fuel shortage in the country. It was the target of sabotage during a big strike in mid-1994. Since then, it has undergone several cycles of maintenance extended because of payment problems related foreign exchange between the Nigerian Central Bank and the contracting companies. It was closed for unscheduled maintenance at end-March 1996, as its four turbines needed repair. It was closed in mid-1996, but briefly, for work to debottleneck related transportation facilities.

The plant's cracker stopped operating in May 1997 after an accident, which caused a serious shortage of gasoline. In mid-1998 its units, apart from the crude oil distillation column, were shut down for repair. Shell was asked to do the repairs. As Shell's bid price was judged too high, the plant's management contracted less qualified companies to do the work. As a result, some of these units continue to operate at about 50% of their capacity.

Under a $251m contract awarded on March 15, 1994, the Nigerian unit of Singapore-based Ipco International has built an offshore export terminal at the Bonny estuary and a 32-km pipeline to the refinery. Extra storage facilities were to be built at the refinery as well. They were completed in 1998, three years behind schedule due to payment problems.
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Publication:APS Review Downstream Trends
Date:Aug 6, 2001
Words:331
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