The Nigerian government has praised Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) at the launch of the Waltersmith 5000 barrel-per-day modular refinery.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said that the completion of the Waltersmith Modular Refinery and conceptualization of similar projects in Bayelsa State were key achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration.
Mr Mohammed toured the newly-built refinery in the company of Imo Governor Hope Uzodinma, Education Minister Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Content and Development Monitoring Board.
The modular refinery was started in October 2018 and will commence operations on October 14, 2020, loading out 23 trucks of refined products per day, having concluded off-take arrangements with select firms.
Mr Mohammed described modular refineries as key to meeting the Federal Government’s agenda of increasing local refining capacity, enhancing value addition to the hydrocarbon resources and employment generation. He gave assurance that government through its relevant ministries and agencies will provide Waltersmith with all necessary support it needs to operate and grow sustainably.
Executive Secretary of NCDMB Simbi Wabote said that the Board moved quickly to invest 30 percent equity in the Waltersmith modular refinery project with the approval of its Governing Council.
He said that the project had several benefits, including generation of direct, indirect, and induced employment opportunities for management staff, plant operators, technicians, drivers, cleaners, suppliers, security personnel and others.
He said that one of NCDMB’s mandates is to develop in-country capacities and capabilities to utilize and add value to the nation’s hydrocarbon resources, while its vision is to serve as a catalyst for the industrialization of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.
According to him, “this vision contributes to the realization of our 70 percent Nigerian Content target in the oil and gas sector by 2027. Our partnership with Waltersmith and other similar investments are some of the levers we are using to deliver the target growth rate.”
Wabote said that at least 10 percent of Nigeria’s oil production should be refined through the modular refineries. He noted that an average of ten direct jobs were created for every 1,000 barrels/day capacity of modular refinery, hence over 2,500 direct jobs and over 25,000 indirect jobs can be created if 10 percent of Nigeria’s production is refined using modular refineries.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr Abdulrasaq Isa said that the company had started the modular project as a strategy to address incessant pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft. The project will also ensure import substitution, energy security for the nation, reduction of the company’s operating costs and job creation.
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. He also said: “We have started with the first module which is 5000 barrels. The next module will be 25,000 barrels. Then the finale module will be 20,000. At that point we will be loading 120 trucks every day at peak production, comprising different products-diesel, kerosene, PMS, HFO and Jet Fuel.” He said that load out of products will commence on October 14, starting with diesel, to be followed closely with the commencement of phase two of the project. Mr Isa also endorsed Federal Government’s deregulation of the downstream subsector, remarking that “the removal of subsidy has created a market for what we are doing. It also facilitates our ability to raise financing for our next project.”