President Muhammadu Buhari, as part of efforts to ensure adequate refining capacity for the country, has approved accelerated crude oil and condensate feedstock supply for Waltersmith refinery.
The President gave the approval during his virtual commissioning of the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith refinery in Ohaji Egbema, Imo State, yesterday.
To ensure proper implementation, the President directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC; the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other relevant government agencies to ensure immediate compliance.
He explained that similar initiatives aimed at ensuring adequate energy sufficiency for the country would be supported.
“”We rolled out our Refining Roadmap in 2018 to address challenges in the downstream sector. After many years of government giving out modular refining licences without any coming on-stream, we are today seeing a commissioning within two years.’’
He said the plan to commence the expansion of the refinery to 50,000 bpd capacity, to refine crude oil and condensate, is a demonstration of the economic reform which Nigeria is undergoing.
Earlier in his address, Chairman, Waltersmith Group, Abdulrazaq Isa, said “the first module being commissioned today is 5,000bpd 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 obtained the ‘licence to establish’ the modular refinery from DPR in June 2015 and got the ‘authority to construct’ in March 2017. The company 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 signed an EPC contract in June 2018 with a consortium of V-fuels and Lambert Electromec. 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.