Oge Obi

The Local Content initiative of the Nigerian government in the oil and gas industry again, received a boost as an indigenous refinery by Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited gets ready to contribute about 271 million litres of refined products annually towards the development of Nigeria’s economy.

The 5,000 bpd modular refinery in its first phase of development is located at Ibigwe field in the Ohaji/Egbema Council Area of Imo state is getting set for in-country crude oil refining and making products available for domestic market.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr Abdulrazaq Isa, said that the modular refinery is being built to create direct and indirect employment. Adding it is also aimed at reducing the demand for foreign exchange for fuel importation.

He hinted that the 5,000 bpd refinery currently in its first phase of development was conceptualised in 2011 to mitigate the frequent outage of the third-party export Trans Niger Pipeline and to optimise the full value of the firm’s produced crude through in-country refining and provide petroleum products for the domestic market.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu in his remarks, commended the firm for the refinery project. He said that the project was a good step in the right direction that will reposition the nation’s refineries.

“We have processed excess of one million barrels in this country and a refining technical team and a clutch-free mechanism would soon be put in place for increased oil production.”

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Mr Simbi Wabote, who congratulated Waltersmith on the groundbreaking event, called for more partnerships as part of its initiatives to increase Nigerian content in the oil and gas sector to 70 per cent within the next 10 years.

He said, “Beyond our interventions in the local supply chain for in-country capacity utilisation, we have broadened our focus to include in-country resource utilisation. We believe that oil production should be refined using modular refineries.

“Our doors are still open and we welcome more proposals for consideration and support in line with the published guidelines.  The capacities of modular refineries we are willing to consider are in the range of a minimum of 1,000bpd and maximum of 5,000bpd.”

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