By Sebastine Obasi
President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned Ibigwe modular refinery with an assurance that Nigeria will soon become a net exporter of petroleum products, as the country moves towards realising its refinery roadmap.
During the commissioning of the 5,000 barrel per day, bpd, Waltersmith modular refinery, Ibigwe, Ohaji, Imo State, held virtually on Tuesday, Buhari said he was happy a modular refinery was coming on stream years after licences were given out.
According to the President said: “This modular refinery is the largest commissioned one in the country.
“The role played by the Nigerian government in going into collaboration with refining and petrochemical company is novel in concept and superb in delivery.
“The realisation of the refinery roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, not only to our neighbouring countries but to worldwide market.”
He also explained that the deployment of modular refineries represents one of the four key elements “of our refinery roadmap rolled out in 2018 aimed at addressing the challenges in the downstream sector to meet Nigeria’s local needs and eliminate importation of petroleum products.”
“After many years of giving licences for the establishment of modular refineries without any coming on stream, I am happy that we can today commission this modular refinery within two years of commencement of our refinery roadmap,” he added.
Also speaking at the occasion, Abdulrazaq Isa, Chairman, Waltersmith Group stated that Ibigwe modular refinery has been designed to produce 271million litres of products annually.
“These products include AGO (Diesel), DPK (Kerosene), HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil) and Naphtha. Evacuation of these products in top quality and standards commenced on November 3, following statutory approvals graciously granted by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR.
“This refinery has already delivered over five million litres of products into the Nigerian economy as of today.
“The expansion project for which we are also breaking grounds today will be constructed in two phases; a 25,000bpd and a 20,000bpd condensate and crude processing plants, respectively.
“We are now at the contract tendering stages and expect construction to be completed in about 24-30 months.
“The combined products expected at full capacity will include premium motor spirit (PMS), and LPG in addition to the existing products mentioned above, contributing about 2.7billion litres of products per annum.
“This represents 10 percent of total refined products consumption in Nigeria and significant foreign exchange savings for the nation, as well as job creation for thousands of our people.”
Razaq also stated that Waltersmith was faithfully progressing to the next phases, hoping that all residual challenges will be resolved in a timely manner before completion and commissioning scheduled for early 2023.