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‘Petroleum products will be cheaper with modular refineries’

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From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed has said the advent of modular refineries will lead to the production of cheaper petroleum products.

He attributed the coming of such refineries to the enabling environment created by the Muhammadu Buhari Administration.

Mohammed spoke after touring Waltersmith Modular Refinery and Petro-Chemical Company Limited,  Ibigwe in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State ahead of its inauguration next month.

A statement yesterday in Abuja by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, said the project, with the capacity to produce 50,000 barrel per day, will start with 5,000bpd, add 25,000bpd in the second stage and then another 20,000bpd in the final phase.

Mohammed said: “We can show Nigerians that while every government has been talking about modular refineries, no government has succeeded in turning the dream into reality until now.

“With this kind of refinery, all issues of subsidy become completely irrelevant because we would be able to get fuel at a cheaper price, especially because everything that is being produced will be for local consumption.”

The minister lauded the partnership between the Waltersmith Refinery and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), which holds a 30 per cent stake in the refinery.

He promised that the Buhari administration will continue to showcase its achievements because it has performed well in the execution of projects across the country.

“I am glad we are here today blowing our trumpet because we have created an enabling environment for this project,” he said.

Mohammed and his entourage, as well as Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma with some members of the National Assembly toured the refinery, one of many at different stages of completion in the country.

NCDMB Executive Secretary Simbi Wabote said the board believed that at least 10 per cent of Nigeria’s oil production should be refined through the modular refineries, because of its capacity to create jobs.

“With an average of 10 direct jobs created for every 1,000 barrels per day capacity of a modular refinery, we believe that about 2,500 direct jobs and over 25,000 indirect jobs can be created, if 10 per cent of Nigeria’s production is refined, using modular refineries,” he said.

Also, the Chairman of Waltersmith Modular Refinery and Petro-Chemical Company Limited, Mr. Abdulrazaq Isa, said from October 14, 2020, 23 trucks will begin the loading of petroleum products, such as diesel, kerosene, heavy fuel oil and Naphtha from the refinery.

“What we are doing is in support of government initiative and this is coming at the right time as the government is deregulating the market.

“We really support the government policy on deregulation and removal of subsidies because it creates a market for what we are doing,” he said.

Isa conducted the minister and Uzodinma as well as the Chairman of Senate Committee on Information and National Communication, Danladi Sankara; the Chairman of House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Value, Mr. Olusegun Odebunmi, with over 30 journalists, round the production facilities.

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