A pump attendant dispensing petrol. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
…As NCDMB, Erakson, Duport pact seek industrialisation through oil, gas sector
Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), and some private investors may reduce unemployment in Nigeria by 1,500, and limit the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also called petrol through a new investment worth N10 billion ($25 million).
With the poor state of the country’s existing refineries, the investment comes amid continuous reliance on importation of PMS into Nigeria, even as it is a major exporter of crude oil; a development that has drained government’s revenues with spending on subsidy.
Indeed, the Executive Secretary of the board, Simbi Wabote, who disclosed that the agency was working hard to domesticate skills required to run modular refineries in the country, noted that a 2,500 barrels per day (bpd) modular refinery, 30MMscfd gas processing facility and 2MW power plant are expected from the new investment.
Speaking during a virtual signing of equity investment agreements with Duport Midstream Company for the establishment of an Energy Park, and Eraskon Nigeria Limited, for a lubricating oils blending plant, Wabote said investments that would improve skills, create jobs and catalyse industrialization were a priority for the agency.
Recall that the board has been part of a 5,000bopd modular refinery being developed by Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, boasting of a 30 per cent equity financing.
It also, among others, acquired equity in the 12,000bpd Azikel Hydroskimming Modular Refinery being constructed by Azikel Petroleum Limited at Obunagha, Gbarain, Bayelsa State. The refinery is expected to produce about 1.3million litres of PMS daily as well as diesel, kerosene, mixed liquefied petroleum gas (cooking gas) and a small percentage of heavy fuel oil.
Wabote said the proposed lubricating plant with a capacity for 45,000 litres daily would be the first of such a plant in Bayelsa State, and would enhance the availability of engine oils, transmission fluids, grease, and other products.
He explained that the investments were part of the approvals granted recently by the Board’s Governing Council chaired by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
He added that the investments were coming under the Board’s commercial ventures programme, and was in line with the Board’s vision to serve as a catalyst for the industrialisation of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors
Wabote indicated that the Duport partnership is in furtherance of the Board’s strategy to enhance in-country value addition by supporting the establishment of processing facilities close to marginal or stranded hydrocarbon fields.
He stressed that the recent drastic drop in the prices of oil had made it imperative to have refining capacities to reduce if not eliminate cases of stranded oil cargoes without buyers.
Wabote said: “We do not want a situation where the modular refineries are folding up one after the other in a few years due to lack of technical support or inability to secure critical parts.”
“NCDMB has commenced discussions with some Original Equipment Manufacturers on how to domicile the fabrication and assembly of modular refineries in-country. Our strategy is to begin to claw back bits and pieces of the various components of the modular refinery until we fully domesticate the manufacturing of a large percentage of the kits in-country.”
Giving details of the partnership with Eraskon, the Executive Secretary noted that the blending facility has the capacity to be deployed for the production of other chemicals and reagents. “The packaging section can also be used for generating additional incomes for the business and for creation of employment,” he said.
The Managing Director of Duport Midstream Company, Dr. Akintoye Akindele, assured that the project would add value to the nation’s natural resources and create wealth and social amenities for the communities.
Similarly, the Managing Director of Erakson Nigeria, Maxwell Oko, said the company would benefit from operating from the same industrial corridor with Shell Gas Gathering facility, Azikel Refinery and NCDMB projects at Polaku.