By Michael Eboh
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, weekend, stated that the Federal Government was committed to the speedy completion of the Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited’s 30,000 barrels per day modular refinery, going by the immense role the project would play in contributing to Nigeria’s projection for petroleum products sufficiency and availability.
Speaking during his visit to the ongoing refinery project in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area in Imo State, Sylva noted that the refinery construction was at an advanced stages, with the first phase presently at over 90 per cent completion.
He stated that the overall expectation was to see indigenous Nigerian companies do well, adding that the Waltersmith modular refinery project was a major bright spot which has recently been incorporated into the country’s projection for petroleum product sufficiency and availability
He said, “The incorporation of the modular refinery component in the existing business concerns of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited is exactly what was envisaged by the Federal Government with marginal fields allocation.”
Sylva applauded the Board and Management of Waltersmith Petroman, while he advised that huge emphasis should be placed on corporate social responsibility to ensure sustained and successful relationship with the host community.
He pledged the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria in ensuring that the expected completion date and refinery operations commencement date of May 2020 is achieved.
He commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, for executing the project partnership for the 30,000 barrels per day modular refinery which is wholly owned by Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited with a key equity investment from the NCDMB.
Also speaking during the visit, Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, stated that the partnership forged with Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited had clearly shown the power of public-private investments, while noting that all the necessary steps have been put in place to ensure the full realisation of the objectives of the project.
He further noted that the initial partnership with Waltersmith Petroman was stemmed from the quest to achieve President Muhammadu Buhari’s aspiration to improve in-country refined products capacity.
He expressed his optimism that the May 2020 completion date for the phase one of the project with the capacity of 5,000 barrels per day, would coincide with the ground-breaking for the phase two of the project targeted at delivering 25,000 barrels per day crude and condensate refinery; designed to produce gasoline, diesel, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, kerosene and aviation fuel.
On his part, Chairman of Waltersmith Petroman, Mr. AbdulRazaq Isa, noted that the fundamental reasons for embarking on the Waltersmith modular refinery project included but not limited to crude loss, resulting from crude oil handling and the cost of crude oil transportation from the marginal fields owned by Waltersmith Petroman.
He noted that the project owners, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited with 70 per cent stake and NCDMB, with 30 per cent stake, had worked assiduously to ensure the phase 1 delivery timeline which has been pegged at 18 months.
He stated that the first phase was expected to contribute about 271 million litres of refined products including diesel, naphtha, HFO and kerosene annually to the domestic market and create both direct and indirect jobs particularly within the host communities.
In his technical presentation, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr. Chikezie Nwosu, noted that the NCDMB was providing major guidance and contributions on Nigerian Content, technical and commercial issues and corporate governance to the project.
He recalled that the Final Investment Decision, FID, for the refinery project was taken in September 2018 with an 18-month delivery time from November 2018 to May 2020, for phase one.