By Udeme Akpan
THE Management of Eterna Oil Plc said that the company has invested over N3 billion to further expand its lubricant oil plants operations to promote local content drive in oil and gas sector.
Mr. Mahmud Tukur, the company’s managing director disclosed this while briefing the media, weekend, in Lagos, on its investment drive during the official launch of Castrol lubricant oil which was made in Nigeria product.
Tukur said that the Nigeria’s local content drive in the oil and gas sector received major boost as an indigenous oil company, Eterna oil expands its investment in the sector to boost production of variants of Castrol oil which was hitherto imported.
He said that Eterna was importing and distributing Castrol lubricants in Nigeria, before it set up a robust marketing structure with increased market sales, which culminated in the manufacture of the lubricants locally through a third-party facility on an interim basis. The Eterna boss said that the company has commenced local production of Castrol oil in Nigeria, adding that the aim was always for the company to own its blending facility. According to him, our dream became a reality when it secured 940,000 dollars loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 1995 to construct what was to eventually become one of the best and most modern lubricant manufacturing plants in Africa.
“Castrol designed the plant and provided the required technical support during construction ensuring that the plant met global standards. Eterna currently operates a 15,000, metric tons, MT, capacity state-of-the-art lubricant manufacturing plant, which is fully owned through its subsidiary Eterna Industries Limited, which is one of the only 3 Castrol accredited blending plants in Africa. “The company has invested over N3 billion to further expand lubricant oil plants operations in Nigeria as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to promote local content initiative,’’ he said.
Tukur said that the plant which is equipped with a state of the art laboratory to support the blending activities as well as used oil analysis services for customers, can blend up to 45,000 MT, if it runs three full shifts. The laboratory according to Tukur, is a vital technical support which the company provides to its customers to enable them optimise equipment up-time and avoid failures where possible, through early detection and diagnosis.
According to him, the laboratory frequently participates in ILCP (Inter Laboratory Correlation Programmes) exercises where it is provided with random samples to test and the results are benchmarked against many laboratories scattered all over the globe. “I am pleased to report that Eterna’s Laboratory has continued to retain its global rating and is currently pursuing its ISO 17025 certification.
“The overall activities of the blending plant are supervised by Castrol’s Global manufacturing and Technology teams, ensuring that our staff are exposed to the latest manufacturing and testing methods, resulting in the highest quality manufactured lubricants.
“I am proud to announce that the latest addition to the Castrol GTX family “Castrol GTX Essential” was produced for the first time in the world at our plant in Sagamu this August. This is a clear demonstration of the confidence reposed in our manufacturing capabilities by Castrol, Eterna oil boss added. He said that the Castrol GTX Essential was developed in response to specific market requirements in Nigeria/Africa (and other regions with similar climatic conditions).
He said that this is an example of how globally developed technology is brought to bear in ways that address local conditions, meet engine manufacturers’ specifications whilst remaining affordable and cost effective.
“Between 2009 and 2015 post the acquisition of Castrol by BP, Eterna was majorly active in the Marine and Energy sectors, providing premium lubricants to tanker vessels, supply vessels, port operators, Floating Production Storage and Offloading(FPSOs) and drilling rigs.
“In 2015, we commenced further discussions with Castrol to extend our licensing rights to cover the Automotive and Industrial Sectors.
“Culminating in the signing of a sole distributorship agreement in February 2017 for the Automotive and Industrial range of Lubricants for the Nigerian Market”, he said.
Tukur said in the next few months the company will be rolling out sales points nationwide, appointing distributors in strategic markets, partnering with independent retailers and constructing our own mega stations in key cities including Abuja and Calabar.
He said that Eterna oil Plc is the first fully indigenous oil marketing company to be listed on the floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE).
He said that despite all the challenges it has faced, the company has come out stronger, its balance sheet is very healthy and we are now poised to deliver exceptional value to our shareholders, staff, distributors and partners.