From Juliana Taiwo, Abuja
The Federal Government and Agip, Italian oil giant, have struck a deal to build a 150,000 barrels per day capacity refinery in Rivers State.
The deal was announced yesterday by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu after a meeting with the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo at the Presidential Villa. The meeting had in attendance Kachikwu, officials of Agip and the vice president.
The refinery, according to Kachikwu, would be located either in Port Harcourt or Brass as part of investments of the oil giant in Nigeria which he put at about $15 billion.
“We had two meetings this morning, the first was between the Ministry of Petroleum, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Agip Oil Company. The first meeting dealt largely with Agip’s investments in Zaba Zaba field and also their cooperation with us in terms of repairs of Port Harcourt refinery where they are working with Oando and a few other people.
“Thirdly, we reviewed my meeting with Agip OTC last week with their chief executive officer worldwide. We reached an agreement that Agip will build a new refinery of 150,000 barrels capacity which will either be located in Port Harcourt or in Brass and so, today they reconfirmed that and they are preparing an MoU along those lines.
“Total investment from Agip, involved in both the Zaba Zaba plant field, power plant and the new refinery is in excess of $15 billion, that is a major push in terms of our search for investment,” the minister said.
The Agip refinery, if finally built, will be the second private refinery in the country. Business mogul, Aliko Dangote, is putting finishing touches to a mega refinery being built in Lagos. The government has also announced that it is considering establishing modular refineries to up its local refining capacity.
The minister urged other multinationals operating in the sector to follow Agip’s footstep to create other related industrial growth plans rather than just spotting crude.
Kachikwu assured that there was no fear of protectionism as the government would work to ensure best practices while exploring export models for its petroleum products.