The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board have revealed that a modular refinery, located in Imo State, with the capacity of 5,000 barrels per day will commence operations in October.

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The Federal Government applauded Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board for their effective partnership that led to the record completion of the modular refinery within two years, according to a statement on Wednesday.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was said to have conveyed the commendation after touring the project located at Ibigwe, Ohaji/Egbema LGA, Imo State.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

The NCDMB revealed that the refinery construction started in October 2018 and would commence operations on October 14, 2020.

The refinery is expected to load out 23 trucks of refined products per day, having concluded off-take arrangements with select firms.

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The minister was quoted as saying that the completion of Waltersmith modular refinery and conceptualisation of similar projects in Bayelsa State were key achievements of the current administration.

He described modular refineries as key to meeting the Federal Government’s agenda of increasing local refining capacity and enhancing value addition to hydrocarbon resources and employment generation.

He said the government, through its relevant ministries and agencies, would provide Waltersmith with all the necessary support to operate and grow sustainably. He also remarked that the refinery will employ 2,000 youths.

The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, said the board moved quickly to invest 30 per cent equity in the Waltersmith modular refinery project with the approval of its governing council.

According to him, one of NCDMB’s mandates is to develop in-country capacities and capabilities to utilise and add value to the nation’s hydrocarbon resources, while its vision is to serve as a catalyst for the industrialisation of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.

“This vision contributes to the realisation of our 70 per cent Nigerian content target in the oil and gas sector by 2027. Our partnership with Waltersmith and other similar investments are some of the levers we are using to deliver the target growth rate,” he said.

The Imo Modular Refinery.
The Imo Modular Refinery.

Wabote said at least 10 per cent of Nigeria’s oil production should be refined through modular refineries.

According to him, an average of 10 direct jobs are created for every 1,000 BPD capacity of the modular refinery; hence, over 2,500 direct jobs and over 25,000 indirect jobs can be created if 10 per cent of Nigeria’s production is refined using modular refineries.

In his welcome remarks, the Chairman, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr Abdulrasaq Isah, indicated that the company decided to embark on the modular project as a strategy to address incessant pipeline vandalism and theft of its crude oil products.

He said the project would also ensure import substitution, energy security for the nation, lower of the company’s operating cost and create lots of jobs.

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He said the company planned to expand the refinery’s production capacity to 50,000 BPD.

Isah said, “We have started with the first module, which is 5,000 barrels. The next module will be 25,000 barrels. Then the final module will be 20,000.

“At that point we will be loading 120 trucks every day at peak production, comprising different products-diesel, kerosene, petrol, heavy fuel oil and jet fuel.”

He confirmed that loading of products would commence on October 14, starting with diesel, to be followed closely with the commencement of the phase two of the project.

Isah also endorsed Federal Government’s deregulation of the downstream subsector, saying, “The removal of subsidy has created a market for what we are doing. It also facilitates our ability to raise financing for the next module we will be doing.”