$360m Azikiel Refinery Targets Mechanical Completion by Year End, Production Begins 2025

Peter Uzoho

Nigeria’s second biggest private-owned oil refinery, the 12,000 barrels per day (bpd) Azikiel Petroleum Refinery phase one currently under construction in Gbarain, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State has exceeded 87 per cent completion and fast approaching mechanical completion by the end of this year.

The promoters of the hydro skimming refinery, the Azikel Group, anticipates mechanical completion in 2024 and commercial production operations by 2025. The company added that the planned phase two which would commence immediately upon the commercial operation of the phase one was a 25,000-barrels per day facility.

When fully on-stream, the refinery would produce two million litres of premium petroleum products of EURO V grade per annum, including petrol, aviation fuel, diesel among others, and hopes to be able to determine the costs and quality of petrol in the country.

The project is being delivered by

United States-based Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, McDermott, which manufactured the Inside Battery Limits (ISBL) Process Modules of the refinery in US.

Providing the overview and current status of the project during an exclusive interaction with THISDAY, President of Azikel Refinery, Dr Eruani Azibapu, revealed that 90 per cent of the Process Modules of the ISBL of the facility had been shipped into the country, while the Outside Battery Limits(OSBL) and Balance of Plant (BOP) are already completed and installed.

Azikiel Group is a conglomerate of major subsidiaries involved in dredging, power generation, aviation and a mini refinery in the US and the Niger Delta-based hydroskimming refinery.

“Today, Azikiel Refinery has progressed exceedingly. We are now at 87 per cent completion in the overall.

“We are anticipating achieving mechanical completion by the end of this year. And of course, commercial production is going to be by next year when we will be receiving crude oil and then fire on.

“The Refinery is being manufactured by Mc Demott in the US. 90 per cent of the Process Modules of the ISBL has been shipped,” Azibapu said.

He admitted that accessing foreign exchange had posed a challenge in executing the project, noting that there were not many options other than achieving completion to commence production at the refinery.

He described the refinery as the hope of the Niger Delta and Bayelsa, saying the multi-million-dollar facility stood to be a model for what is possible in Nigeria.

Highlighting the values of the project to the country’s economy, Azibapu noted that aside adding value to the Nigerian crude oil, the company has created over 80,000 indirect employment and over 700 direct employment.

He added, “When the refinery is running, there will be a lot of businesses that will emerge, people doing trucking and all that. Direct employment will be over 3000 people.

“So, I derive joy that I’ve been able to create the machine that is not only creating wealth but also giving lives to people and driving industrialisation of Nigeria.

“So, the good story is that we are there at completion, we are finishing the project and bringing hope  and  glory to the people of Nigeria and Bayelsa State.”

Azikel Refinery is one of the success partnership from equity participation investment of $20 million by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) which ascribes a 10 per cent investment shares to the NCDMB.

The further expansion of the refinery complex into the phase 2 of 25,000 barrels per day would further guarantee availability of refine petroleum products in Nigeria.

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