The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has said that strengthening local refining of petroleum products remains a viable step towards meeting domestic demand as well as to reduce capital flight through the import of refined products.

Reiterating the Agency commitment to support local refining of petroleum products, the Director, DPR, Ahmad Shakur said it is also part of the Agency’s drive to realise the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), and other similar Federal Government initiatives aimed at deepening local refining in Nigeria.

This is especially so as the statistics from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), revealed that last year alone, Nigeria spent a whopping N3trillion importing about 18 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

The Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu in a statement recently said the agency would in the coming weeks grant a ‘Licence to Operate’ (LTO), to Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Limited (NDPR), a subsidiary of Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc (NDEP), for a further 11,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery.

Auwalu who commended NDPR for consolidating its maiden 1,000 Diesel Topping Refining Plant capacity and expanding the plant with an additional 5,000 bpd said, “The expansion provides for other products slate to include kerosene, marine diesel and heavy fuel oil to cater to the Nigerian market.

“The expanded plant located at Ogbele, Ahoada, in Rivers State will potentially reduce importation of petroleum products with corresponding savings in foreign exchange and employment generation for our teaming youths.”According to him, major equipment and units of the second Train of 5,000bpd have been fabricated, inspected, tested, and modules are currently being shipped to Nigeria.

When installed, the upgraded refining complex would bring the total refining capacity to 11,000 bpd, and would then have the requisite units to produce diesel (512,775 litres/day), kerosene (317,205 litres/day), marine diesel (281,907 litres/day) and heavy fuel oil (234,525 litres/day), and particularly Premium Motor Spirit/gasoline (168,540 litres/day), he said.

The Director noted that DPR provided necessary regulatory guidance and technical support throughout the project development phases for NDPR to contribute about 4.2 per cent of national daily diesel demand, and about 0.4 per cent of petrol in Nigeria.“Having achieved these giant strides, the DPR is set to grant NDPR a ‘Licence to Operate’ (LTO) the plant expected to be commissioned soon.

“This laudable project is expected to catalyse further growth of the Nigerian refining industry by attracting more investments as more players gain confidence. Similarly, DPR has directed all modular refinery ‘Licence to Establish’ (LTE) licence holders to demonstrate expected performance within the two-year validity, to enable them obtain ‘Approval to Construct’ (ATC), and other milestone approvals.

Peace Obi

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