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FG targets marginal fields development using modular refineries

The Federal Government is looking to further develop marginal oil fields across the country through the establishment of modular refineries that can refine crude oil in smaller volumes.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, disclosed this recently when he paid an inspection visit to Waltersmith modular refinery in Ohaji/Egbema, Imo State.

Sylva, according to documents made available to our correspondent in Abuja, said, “The incorporation of the modular refinery component in the existing business concerns of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, is exactly what was envisaged by the Federal Government with marginal fields allocation.

“The overall expectation was to see indigenous Nigerian companies do well and the Waltersmith modular refinery is a major bright spot, which has recently been incorporated into the nation’s projection for petroleum product sufficiency and availability.”

According to the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the inspection at the facility shows that ongoing works in the refinery construction was at an advanced completion status of over 90 per cent.

The minister urged the management of the refinery to place huge focus on corporate social responsibility, in order to ensure a sustained and successful relationship with the host community.

He commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board for executing the project partnership for the 30,000 barrels per day modular refinery.

Sylva pledged the commitment of the Federal Government in ensuring that the expected completion date and refinery operations commencement date of May 2020 would be achieved.

The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, said the partnership between the agency and Waltersmith had shown the power of public-private investments.

He said all necessary steps had been put in place to ensure the full realisation of the objectives of the project.

Wabote expressed optimism that the May 2020 completion date of the phase one (5,000 bpd refinery) will coincide with the ground-breaking for the phase two of the project.

He noted that the second phase of the project was targeted at refining 25,000 bpd of crude and condensate, adding that it was designed to produce petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, kerosene and aviation fuel.

The Chairman, Waltersmith, AbdulRazaq Isa, said the fundamental reason for embarking on the modular refinery was to reduce crude loss resulting from crude handling and the cost of crude transportation from the marginal fields owned by Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited.

He noted that the project owners, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited (70 per cent) and NCDMB (30 per cent) had worked assiduously to ensure the phase one delivery timeline which was pegged at 18 months.

Isa said phase one of the project was expected to contribute about 271 million litres of refined products.

He outlined the products to include diesel, naphtha, HFO and kerosene annually to the domestic market, as well as create jobs particularly within the host communities.