FG: Modular Refineries Will Address Nigeria’s Energy Challenges

FG: Modular Refineries Will Address Nigeria’s Energy Challenges

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The federal government has noted that the investment and operation of modular refinery would address energy challenges in the country.

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, made the assertion yesterday, during his visit alongside with the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and others to Waltersmith Modular Refinery at Ibigwe, Imo State.

Speaking with journalists after inspecting the refinery, Lokpobiri said to ensure that there was sufficient supply of refined petroleum products for Nigerians consumption, President Bola Tinubu had directed him to take charge of the programme and rehabilitate the state owned refineries.

He disclosed that since his assumption of office about three months ago, he had also visited the refineries in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri.

The Minister of Petroleum who expressed satisfaction with the level of investment and development at the Waltersmith modular refinery, said, “The easiest way for us to address our energy problems is modular refineries.”

Addressing journalists at the refinery, Lokpobiri said “The success story you see here also had the component of NCDMB in collaboration with others and as a government we will do whatever we can do.”

He noted that, “The biggest challenge modular refineries may also have is feedstock, access to funding”, adding that the federal government was handing  the problems.

“That is why BOI, NCDMB is also here to take this collaboration to the next level.

“It is not enough for us to give those who have modular refinery licenses money, we need to identify those that have proven record of success.

“Some people will take the money and divert it, but here we are physically seeing one that is functional and we have also seen the expansion of what is going on and so we will do whatever we can to support them, NCDMB,” he added.

Speaking on the resumption of operation on the Port Harcourt refinery, the Minister expressed hope that by December this year, the first phase of the project would be completed.

He said: “The NNPC team told me that the refinery will be ready by December but I went there I saw that they are still working. There are three phases in the Port Harcourt refinery, from the presentation made to me, the first phase will be ready by December.”

On his part, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, commended the level of investment at the refinery.

He said over 600 million liters of petroleum products have left the refinery to various parts of the country.

Wabote said “This was one of the first project that we have tried to catalyse and it’s being a success story as you can see they have produced almost 600 million liters of various products from this refinery, about 20 trucks leave the refinery on a daily basis. You have gone round and you have see it’s working.”

He added that, “not every investment that you participate that is successful. This is one of the successful investment we have done.

If you ask the likes of Elon Musk and Co how many investments they got into before they became successful but we tried it, we analysed the people we associate and invest with and this is one of the most successful investment we have done and I am very happy about that.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Waltersmith modular refinery, Abdulrasaq Isah, disclosed that the refinery produces 5000 barrels per day, adding that it would soon extend to 10000 barrels per day.

“The refinery is working and we are expanding the capacity. We are going from 5000 barrels per day to 10,000.  We are also thinking ahead and we are targeting 40,000 bpd.

“We have already an engagement with NNPC Ltd and we are also canvassing the support of the Minister to get the feedstock required to take us to that 40000 bpd required capacity. And that is where we are headed,” he added.

He thanked the Minister and the Executive Secretary of Local content board for coming to see the status of the refinery, saying, “Our co-investors is very happy with what we are delivering and we therefore use this as the basis for engagement with the Bank of Industry to support it and other potential investors that are going to participate with us.”

The Minister and the top management of NCDMB also visited the PDTF’s Centre for Skills Development and Training (CSDT) at Omagwa, Ikwerre LGA, Rivers State.

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