Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
An industrialist, Dr. Azibapu Eruani, who is currently building a refinery in Bayelsa State, thursday said unless Nigeria develops the capacity to refine petroleum products locally, the perennial fuel scarcity in the country would persist.
Eruani, who spoke in Yenagoa, however said there was hope for the country since the privately owned refineries, including his own, would in the coming months complete their facilities which he said would reduce unemployment and reduce or completely eradicate the current malaise
Already, the President of the Azikel Group, comprising Azikel Petroleum, Dredging, Power and Azikel Air, noted that the refinery which he is building is 65 per cent completed, noting that when fully on-stream, the issue of fuel scarcity would be solved.
Decrying the yearly fuel scarcity problem, particularly during festive periods in the country, he pointed that this challenge had become embarrassing and crippling the economic activities in the country
He added that the challenge persists because the efficiency level of existing refineries was too low to satisfy consumersâ€™ demand, stating that Nigeria still solely depends on importation of fuel for local consumption.
â€œAzikel Petroleum has achieved 65 per cent completion and would soon begin operation. When all licensed privately-owned refineries begin to dispense fuel, it would shore up production capacity and fuel scarcity and insufficiency would be a thing of the past while Nigeria would be like other countries where availability of petroleum product is not an issue,â€ Eruani said.
He added: â€œAzikel Petroleum refinery, phase one, with 12, 000 bpsd hydro-skimming refinery would produce premium motor spirit, liquefied petroleum gas, heavy fuel oil, kerosene and diesel, which is scalable as it will increase geometrically in the phase two level of production with over 50,000 bpsd.
â€œ Group is irrevocably committed to bridging the industrial deficit in Bayelsa, we are on a fast lane of making history, building the first hydro-skimming privately owned refinery in the state and the Niger Delta, and as we pioneer this course others would follow.â€
He dismissed insinuations that Bayelsa is a militant state, stressing that the people are enterprising while many small and medium business also thrive in the state.
Eruani stressed that with over 1000 employees from the six geo-political zones and a plan to employ more, prostitution, drug addiction, cultism, robbery and other vices which have plagued the Niger Delta will be reduced.