By Ediri Ejoh
President Muhammadu Buhari is set to commission the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith Modular Refinery and conduct the ground-breaking ceremony for the 45,000 barrels per day refinery expansion project at Ibigwe, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
The commissioning, which would hold Tuesday (Today), November 24, 2020, would also have in attendance, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva and His Excellency the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
At a recent pre-commissioning visit to the refinery, Yusuf Usman, Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power, Waltersmith, speaking on the success of the refinery, stated that “It is a landmark achievement and it shows that we can actually refine our crude oil in-country.”
In a statement in Abuja, Usman noted that the modular refinery has a crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and is projected to deliver over 271 million liters per annum of refined petroleum products which include Kerosene, Diesel, Naphtha and Heavy Fuel Oils to the domestic market.
According to him, the bulk of crude oil supply for this phase would come from Waltersmith’s upstream business with backup from Oil Mining Lease, OML, 53 (Ohaji South) Seplat/Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Joint Venture, JV, third party crude currently processed at Waltersmith Ibigwe Flowstation and additionally from the 2020 Marginal Fields Bid Round for a nearby asset.
Abdulrazaq Isa, Chairman, Waltersmith Group says “The first module being commissioned today is 5,000 barrels per day, BPD, refining capacity. We are looking at 50,000bpd refining capacity that will come with the planned additional two modules; 25,000bpd and 20,000bpd refining capacity respectively, which will then add PMS, Aviation fuel and LPG to the product slates.”
Waltersmith, the statement explained, obtained the ‘License to Establish’ the modular refinery from the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in June 2015 and got the ‘Authority to Construct’ in March 2017.
The company said it then partnered with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to raise the required financing. NCDMB are 30 per cent equity partners while AFC committed senior secured credit facility towards the project.
“From the very day we keyed into this project in line with the President’s aspiration to grow the country’s oil refining capacity, we felt very happy that we are associated with Waltersmith, a serious-minded company”, said Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, NCDMB.
The company added that it signed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction, EPC, contract in June 2018 with a consortium of V-fuels and Lambert Electromec.
It stated that the construction of the modular refinery commenced in October 2018 and was delivered in less than 24 months, ahead of schedule but its official commissioning originally planned for May was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.