By Chineme Okafor
Five states in Nigeria’s south east region will have daily supply of 271 million litres of refined petroleum products from the 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) modular refinery of Waltersmith Petroman Oil, promoters of the refinery have disclosed.
Expected to come into full operation soon, the refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State will produce diesel, naphtha, heavy fuel oil (HFO) and kerosene within its first phase, and subsequently produce petrol within its second phase.
The chairman of Waltersmith Petroman, Abdulrasaq Isah disclosed in a statement from the firm that supply to the eastern market was close at hand.
He said this when the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari visited the refinery.
“We will be producing 271 million liters of petroleum products to meet some of the requirement of south eastern market,” Isah told Kyari, who was represented by NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power, during the pre-commissioning visit.
He explained that Waltersmith decided to build the modular refinery to address incessant pipeline vandalism and theft of its crude oil within its operational bases.
According to him: “As we began to work on the modular refinery project, we started to see the economic value and impact on Nigeria. The project will also ensure import substitution, energy security for the nation, lower the company’s operating cost and create lots of jobs.”
He outlined the company growth plans, part of which, “is to significantly expand the refinery’s production capacity to 50,000 barrels of crude oil per day.”
“We have started with the first module which is 5,000 barrels. The next module will be 25,000 barrels. Then the finale module will be 20,000,” he added.
Furthermore, the Managing Director of Waltersmith, Chikezie Nwosu said the construction stage of the project created multiples of jobs for the local community. He noted that would surge when it goes into full operation.
“When the tankers start lifting products, you will see immense impact on job creation, growth of the SMEs in the communities around with the attendant growth of the local GDP,” Nwosu explained in the statement.
He equally noted that construction work on the refinery started in October 2018 and was heading for completion before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its progress.
Notwithstanding this, Kyari lauded the firm for going ahead with refinery despite the challenges. He said the modular refinery will contribute to Nigeria’s push for energy sufficiency as well as reinforce the government’s plan to grow Nigeria’s local oil refining capacity.
“It is a landmark achievement and it shows that we can actually refine our crude oil in-country”, he said while pledging the corporation’s commitment to support the refinery to run efficiently.
He further noted: “We will work closely with Waltersmith to ensure that it gets enough crude feedstock it needs to operate seamlessly. We are also looking forward to the Phase 2 of the project when the refinery will start producing premium motor spirit (PMS) which we largely need in this country.”