Explosion at Warri Refinery threatens daily refining capacity drops
The nation’s 10 million litres per day domestic refining capacity at the Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company (WRPC), in Delta State, has come under pressure, following the fire which gutted the 100,000 barrels per day plant.
The explosion is coming soon after the refinery’s management earlier announced improvement in production after the company underwent a thorough rehabilitation and upgrade, which has allowed the plant to overshoot production capacity.
The daily output from the plants comprising of 4.5 million liters of petrol, 3.0 million liters of diesel, 2.0 million liters of kerosene, 400 metric tons of cooking gas, and the remaining fuel oil are affected by the temporary shut down due to the fire.
Although the fire, whose cause was not immediately known was extinguished by fire fighters, Newsherald gathered that it affected the company’s operations.
Spokesperson for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), owner of the refinery, Tuminu Green could not be reached on phone, but a source at the corporation told Newsherald that operations of the refinery was shut down especially at the affected section for products’ evacuation.
“Yes I can confirm that a section of the refinery was gutted by fire.
“This led to a temporary shutdown of the facility due to the high rate of combustion of the products at the installations.
“The fire has been extinguished while investigation has begun on the exact cause of the fire.”
Eyewitness account however showed that the fire, which started at about 11.00am came from the gas section of the refining plants in the complex.
“The Warri metropolis was engulfed in huge overcast of smoke pouring into the sky from the blazing inferno before it was extinguished,” an eye witness said.
The refinery has earlier exceeded its designed petrol extrusion ratio after local engineers regenerated the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) of the refinery.
According to findings by Newsherald, the refinery, which has flooded proximate markets with products and stabilised prices is seriously challenged with product evacuation constraints that threaten production from the plant.
The regeneration of the FCCU, a source at the reinery said, allowed it to exceed the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) extrusion from design capacity of 30 per cent per barrel of crude oil to 35 per cent, an achievement, which he said, has contributed to greater output of the prime transportation fuel to exceed immediate market demand.
“For the first time in the history of domestic refining, all the process units are running at full integrated operational mode. All these peak in production have been affected by the temporary shut down,” he said.
It would be recalled that fears of acute fuel shortage ahead of Yuletide heightened at the weekend over alleged stoppage of fuel importation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
News of fuel scarcity, which has been a recurrent incident during Yuletide in Nigeria crept back into the news last Friday when local and international media reported that the NNPC had halted importation of fuel into the country.