Hope as Imo community gets modular refinery

| October 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

As Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu lays the foundation blocks of a modular refinery in Ibigwe community, Imo State, residents look forward to jobs and a reduction of criminality in their area, reports OKODILI NDIDI

The prospect of hosting the country’s first Modular Refinery has thrown Ibigwe community in Ohaji-Egbema Council Area of Imo State into celebration. Nothing much has been heard about the sleepy community despite the abundant mineral resources deposited in it.

But the fortune of the community has taken a sudden leap with the ground-breaking ceremony of the modular refinery which will become operational by April 2020.

The refinery, which is being built by a private oil company, Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, is expected to produce 5,000 barrels of refined products per day.

Before now Ibigwe community, like every other oil-bearing community, was bedeviled by high rate of militancy and criminality, often perpetrated by unemployed youths, who insist on a chunk of the oil money.

With the modular refinery underway, hope is rising for the people of the community in anticipation of the jobs that will be created by the time the refinery becomes fully operational.

This expectation was not hidden at the groundbreaking ceremony performed by the Minister of Petroleum (State), Ibe Kachikwu, when the youths, women and men from the community turned out in large number to witness the historic event.

Apart from that, the Modular Refinery, on completion, will be the highest job creating investment in the whole of the oil-producing communities in Imo State.

The project is being partnered by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) with 30 percent equity and financed by the African Finance Corporation with an 18 month completion period.

Speaking on the occasion, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, an engineer, expressed the commitment of the board in making sure that the project was completed on schedule.

He described the project as a very important milestone sequel to the signing of the Shareholders Agreement and the Share Subscription Agreement with Waltersmith in June 2018.

Wabote expressed happiness that in less than few months, the project has progressed from the designs, regulatory approvals, legal framework, commercial evaluations, financial construct, and other important paper works to actual physical development on site.

He said that more of this partnership is needed as part of the board’s initiatives to increase the Nigerian Content in the oil and gas sector to 70 per cent within the next 10years, adding that beyond NCDMB’s interventions in the local supply chain for in-country capacity utilisation, the board has broadened its focus to include in-country resource utilisation.

In his welcome address, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited, Abdulrazaq Isa, said that the ground breaking event was a milestone for indigenous participation in the country’s downstream sector.

He said that the company, established as an indigenous in 1996, was awarded the Ibigwe field located in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 16 (now Oil Operating License 2004) in 2003 after participating in the marginal fields licensing rounds specifically designed for indigenous companies.

According to him, the company has successfully operated the field through a farm-out agreement executed in 2004 with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and its joint venture partners, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and had successfully operated the field ramping up production from an initial capacity of 500 bopd to 7,000 bopd.

Performing the groundbreaking ceremony, Kachukwu, reiterated the commitment of the present administration to ensuring that the importation of petroleum products is eliminated by repairing the nation’s four refineries before the end of 2019.

He said “it would be sad if by the end of 2019, Nigeria is still importing fuel from abroad”, stressing that the policy of this administration is go back to refining about 20 per cent of our crude which will move to 50 per cent in the next five years”.

Commenting on the project, the traditional ruler of Ochia autonomous community, Eze Ekwueme Paulinus Ekwueme, said it will create employment and wealth for the people.

He assured that the host communities will support and cooperate with the government and other relevant agencies to ensure a hitch-free operation.

The monarch however urged the Federal Government to ensure that host communities are allowed to participate in the activities of the oil companies in their domain, pledging to do everything possible to ensure that there is peaceful coexistence between the host communities and the oil companies operating in the area.


Culled from :Here

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