The Federal Government has said that two of the 38 modular refineries granted licences to operate in the Niger Delta region will be completed and ready for inauguration by December this year.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, stated these on Wednesday when he led a joint team from the ministry, office of the Vice President and the Department of Petroleum Resources to inspect a modular refinery being constructed by Omsa Pillar Astex Company Limited in Kwale, Delta State.
Kachikwu, represented by his Senior Technical Adviser (Refineries and Downstream Infrastructure), Mr. Rabiu Suleiman, said the two modular refineries to be inaugurated by the end of the year were located in Rivers and Delta states.
The minister’s representative, who was conducted round the site by the Chief Engineer of OPAC Modular Refinery, Elberd Bilanich, expressed joy at the pace of construction work, adding that upon completion, the two refineries would process 7,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
Kachikwu stated, “We are here to provide support as a government and also to evaluate what this company is doing, which is in alignment with the vision of this government, and how we as a government can encourage local production of petroleum products, and to see to the establishment of many modular refineries as indicated by the government, and to provide such support.
“If you recall, sometime last year, the Vice President visited the Niger Delta and made a policy statement to encourage the establishment of modular refineries. We are happy that we are here today. This is one of the first few that have kept to that promise to deliver on what they have promised to do; and today, we are happy to see the installation of the 7,000-barrel capacity modular refinery. As you can see, Russian technology is being installed here.
“The commitment we hear is that within six months from now, the refinery will be completed and we are looking forward to seeing that. In my side talks with the chairman of the company, he is expecting another 45 tonnage of materials to arrive on site and that is a significant portion.
“If that arrives in the next few weeks and construction continues and the weather being a good friend, six months will be made and that is going to be a promise fulfilled. By that, we can say by the end of the year, we will be coming to witness the inauguration of yet another refinery in Nigeria.”
He explained that the planned inauguration of the two modular refineries would send the right signal to other investors who had been sceptical of the Federal Government’s commitment to promote the construction of more modular refineries.
“A total of 38 licences have been issued, ranging from high-scale refineries of 50,000 to 100,000 barrels per day. Out of these, about 10 of the modular refineries have advanced and they have all secured what we call permit to construct, just as it is here. So, with the licence to construct the LTA, it means that 10 as of today are ready to go. This is just one of the 10.”
It noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s resolve to establish modular refineries was part of the long-term plan to end importation of petroleum products and to discourage illegal oil bunkering activities in the region.