Epic Refinery Group has signed agreement with Chiron Refineries to build a modular refinery at Okporoma, Bayelsa State

EPIC Refinery Group, a Nigerian firm, has signed a consulting agreement with Chiron Refineries, for the completion of the construction of the 100,000 barrel capacity refinery that is expected to provide employment for 100,000 Nigerians.

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The agreement, according to Barango Mathew Wenke Jnr., managing director, Epic Refinery, followed the granting of license for operations to the company by the federal government. Epic Refinery Group is aware of the hardship and the needs of Nigerians and has taken a decision to start constructing a relocation refinery on its site in Bayelsa state.

The company signed a consulting agreement with Chiron Refineries as the best match for Epic’s location, saying the future is Brownfield, as opposed to Greenfield, to find a lasting solution to the energy problems in Nigeria.

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The agreement for the construction of the refinery was sealed in Lagos, by representatives of both companies led by the Wenke and Ron Kuperberg, managing director, Chiron Refineries, an expert on relocation and assets management.

According to Wenke, the initiative is his company’s response to the growing demand for refined products in the country, in the midst of the sharp decline in the price of crude oil in the international market. He also said that with the forecast that the price of crude oil may further drop to below $20, it is imperative for the country to commence refining of its crude.

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It is also to meet the country’s increasing demand and in view of the government encouragement to proceed with a relocation as opposed to a Greenfield. “The impact of this project can never be over emphasised with an anticipated creation of over 100,000 jobs and more than 180 petrol stations across the nation. With electricity generation of over 500 megawatts and their multiplier effects on the economy, no one is in doubt of the enormous benefits of this project to the country and Africa as a whole,” he said.

Wenke said funding for the project is guaranteed and that the promoters have blocked the first $30 billion for the project meant for upstream, midstream and downstream. “We have already proposed a jet at Akasa from the Atlantic ocean where the government has approved as oil and gas free trade zone. This is just 60 kilometres to our base within the brass area free trade oil and gas zone.

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“The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, has inspected and approved the land, a massive land at Okporoma. There had been delay on the issuance of the licence because some big people had sat on it which had delayed fund to be released. It is a direct foreign investment. The resources may be slim, but we are ready to emulate the big names. We worked hard to get here. We got the licence on June 15.”

Recall that the federal government and Epic Refinery and Petrochemical Industries recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to establish a refinery with the capacity to create 100,000 new jobs. Epic refinery boss had said that the firm would inject $7.5 million into the project.

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Epic Refinery Group is joining other companies like Dangote and Ode-Aye Refinery Limited in building private refineries in the country. President Muhammadu Buhari had in June 2015 granted licences to 65 Nigerian companies to construct modular refineries. The companies were selected from more than 285 applications that were screened for the purpose.

The decision of the federal government to award licence to establish refineries was born out of its desire to see the increase in domestic refining capacity to meet local demand, thereby reducing huge import bills for subsidy. Modular refineries are mini-refineries with capacities ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 barrels per day, bpd, which can be assembled and separated easily for enhanced performance and efficiency.

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