Nigeria’s state oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has launched a tender seeking potential operators to manage the Port Harcourt oil refinery.

The refinery, located in the Niger Delta, is expected to commence production in the first quarter of this year following an upgrade.

Initially, the refinery will process 60,000bpd, with plans to reach its full capacity of 210,000bpd later in the year, reported Reuters.

In a public notice posted on its website and shared on its X (formerly Twitter) page, NNPC expressed its intention to “engage reputable and credible Operations & Maintenance (O&M) companies to operate and maintain one of its refineries, Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), to ensure reliability and sustainability towards meeting the nation’s fuel supply and energy security obligations”.

The criteria for prospective operators includes $2bn of minimum turnover since 2019, a current credit rating and experience in refinery management.

Earlier this month, NNPC said it plans to complete test runs at the Port Harcourt refinery this month, with the aim of resuming production, reported Reuters.

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NNPC spokesperson Femi Soneye said: “Testing will conclude shortly, ensuring the refinery’s efficient operation. That phase will be completed this month.”

Ceasing operations five years ago, the refinery is part of a group of state-owned refineries that have been inactive for years, reported Reuters.

The Nigerian Government is making efforts to revitalise these facilities to reduce the country’s dependence on imported refined products.