The Federal Government has said modular refineries will stop fuel importation as well as reducing pump price. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this yesterday during the pre-inauguration inspection of the Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Ibigwe, Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
Governor Hope Uzodinma; the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; and Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Olusegun Odebunmi, were present at the event.
The 5,000-barrel per day (bpd) modular refinery is scheduled for inauguration next month. According to the minister, the refinery will help increase the country’s oil capacity, create jobs and end issues relating to oil subsidy.
Mohammed said with about 100 modular refineries in the country, Nigeria would not have any business importing oil. Mohammed said modular refineries would help Nigeria stop exporting its resources without adding value to them.
He said, “We have been told that by October 14 or 15 this project will be inaugurated and it will be producing about 5,000 barrels of crude per day, which is about five major products right now.
“You have naphtha, you have diesel, you have kerosine and HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil). But what that really means in effect is that with the phase one which is 5,000, they hope that by 2022, they will get to phase two, which will see an increase of another 25,000 barrels and by 2024 they hope to have reached 50,000 barrels.
“If you come here again in a month’s time, you are going to have at least over 200 trucks loading different products a day. You can imagine the multiplier effect of that on the community. I believe that this is the way to go because what we need is about a hundred of Waltersmith in Nigeria and then, we will not have any business importing any crude.
“So, it is easy to see that what we are talking about is a kind of medium scale industry in the downstream industry.”The minister said the Federal Government created an enabling environment for the project, including ensuring that the necessary permits, regulations were obtained.
“We are celebrating not just Waltersmith, but the partnership between the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Waltersmith, because we can show Nigerians that while every government talked about modular refineries, none succeeded in realising the dream,” Mohammed said.
Uzodimma said with the establishment of the refinery, local content had become a success story in the country. According to him, while foreign companies were running away from the downstream sector, Waltersmith moved from upstream to downstream.
He said: “At the end of the day, they will put in place a value chain that will not only help our economy, but empower Nigerians.
“So, I am very, very excited by this project and I have no doubt in my mind that it will stimulate, not only our economy here, the national economy and indeed the global economy.”
Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, said the first phase of the refinery would deliver about 271 million litres of diesel, kerosine, HFO and naphtha per annum.
He stated that over N1.0 billion would be committed to community projects in line with the 2019-2024 Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU). Wabote said: “Discussions on both the condensate feedstock, crude oil and gas development strategies are ongoing and Waltersmith has approached the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for its support in making this a reality.”