Port Harcourt Refinery

The first oil refinery in Nigeria: Port Harcourt Refinery

Port Harcourt, named for the then-colonial secretary Lewis Harcourt, is a coastal city in southern Nigeria home to the Port Harcourt Refinery. It was built shortly after Nigeria’s independence by the Shell-BP Petroleum Development Company. 

The Port Harcourt Refinery, Nigeria’s first oil refinery located at Alesa Eleme, is divided into two units: the old and new refineries. The old refinery opened in 1965 with a capacity of 35,000 barrels per day, subsequently increasing to 60,000 barrels per day in 1972.

The new refinery began operations in 1989, boosting the total daily capacity for crude processing to 210,000 barrels. The refinery now has a combined daily capacity of more than five million liters of PMS.

By the mid-1970s, forecasts from Nigeria’s economic intelligence units suggested that demand for petroleum products would surpass supply at the pace the economy was developing. Hence, the government began constructing other refineries around the country, such as the Warri and Kaduna refineries, which were established in 1978 and 1980, respectively. 

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