By Adewale Sanyaolu
The Chairman, Senate Committe on Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB), Senator Sabo Mohammed Nakudu, has assured the nation that the National Assembly (NASS) would pass the much-awaited PIB in next two months.
He gave the assurance in Lagos yesterday during the visit of the National Assembly Joint Committee on PIB to the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plants in Ibeju-Lekki.
Nakudu said the visit of the Joint Committee was aimed at getting first hand information on what the nation’s refineries, both private and government owned requires so as to help in inculcate same into the PIB.
He said the refineries are a core of the downstream sector and cannot afford to operate in isolation.
He said he was overwhelmed at the state-of-the earth facilities at the Dangote Refinery, saying NASS will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the refinery gets the needed support required to come on stream as soon as possible.
He noted that as a country, either now or later, deregulation is the way to go.
He disclosed that with the Dangote Refinery, the country would have succeeded in saving huge foreign exchange that would go into importation of petroleum products.
Also speaking, Mohammed Monguno, Chairman Adhoc Committee on PIB, equally reiterated the assurance by Nakudu, saying the Reps were in total support of deregulation of the downstream oil sector.
Monguno who expressed delight with the level of investment by Aliko Dangote in the downstream sector said passage of the Bill would help attract more investment, generate jobs and advance the economy.
He said the refinery when operational would conserve foreign exchange (forex) used in product importation and, on the other hand, generate forex through product export.
On his part, Senator Alfred Bassey Akpan, Chairman Senate Committee, Upstream, said efforts are being made to get understanding of every stakeholder to ensure quick passage of the Bill.
On deregulation, Akpan said government would not be allowed to pay billions on subsidy when infrastructure demand is high.
Dangote Refinery, an integrated refinery and petrochemical project, is under construction in the Lekki Free Zone near Lagos.
will commence full production by early 2022.
It is expected to be the Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility, upon completion in 2020.
Dangote Oil Refinery, a company owned by the Nigeria-based Dangote Group, is developing the project with an estimated investment of $12 billion.
The Dangote refinery will process a variety of light and medium grades of crude to produce Euro-V quality clean fuels including gasoline and diesel as well as jet fuel and polypropylene.
The integrated refinery and petrochemical project is expected to generate over 9,500 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs.
Daily Sun authoritatively learnt that pre-commissioning of the project will likely happen before end of 2021.
Estimated to hold 37 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, Nigeria is the second biggest oil-rich country in Africa, after Libya but highly dependent on imported refined fuel products due to lack of domestic refining capacity.
The Dangote refinery will certainly increase Nigeria’s refining capacity two-fold and help meet the increasing domestic fuel demand, while generating foreign exchange through exports.
Group Executive Director, Dangote Group, Devakumar Edwin while corroborating Daily Sun findings during a live interview with Arise Television last week had said the company has surmounted all hurdle standing against initial commissioning deadline for the project.
Edwin said Dangote oil and gas refinery remains on track to be operational in early 2022 despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the project timeline was largely disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Exchange fluctuations as well as limited Port holding abilities to receive heavy construction equipment imported from US, China and other countries.
To address these limitations the group he said constructed a reception jetty to facilitate equipment import.
Although, he said that given the groups in country construction experience, it was able to provide about 50,000 housing units to keep workers in safety environment without exposure at the heat of COVID-19 spread, import restrictions however affected equipment arrival at stipulated period.
There have been some staffing reductions because of the need for social distancing, but work has been continuing and almost everything needed to complete the project has already been procured, he said.
Initially expected to begin production in 2016, the refinery deadline was postponed to the end of 2019 after a change of location.
Nigeria’s inefficient ports in Lagos have been blamed for the slow progress Edwin said, citing problems in the importation of steel.
Edwin said that the refinery will comply with emission rules, allowing oil to be readily sold in Europe and North America, as well as to all parts of Nigeria.
Already, Petronav Carriers LLC, PCL, has entered into partnership agreement (PSA) with B&CREW ANCHOR INVESTMENT NIG LTD, BCAI, to lift petroleum products from the refinery as it concludes arrangements for operations.
Petronav, is wholly owned subsidiary of Petrogress, Inc, PGAS, a fully integrated oil commodity business that primarily serves West Africa and Mediterranean.
The PSA anticipates PCL -through BCAI- to provide maritime service operations and sea transportation of petroleum products to Dangote Oil Refinery around Nigeria, West Africa and Europe, based on a long term Affreightment.
The COA consists to the sea-carriage of 600, 000 plus- barrels of crude oil and refined petroleum products monthly, under PCL’s management tankers fleet.
The initial COA will be for three years with an option to prolong for additional two years.
Under the agreement, BCAI will service as PCL’s representative in Nigeria and shall contribute with their Know-How and skills, while PCL will provide its managed fleet of tankers and its expert personnel on the maritime industry.
“We are excited with our new expansion of our maritime operations activities which strengthening Petronav’s position in the shipping industry, and specifically in the midstream, that is a key segment in the Oil Energy. Despite the adverse environment, we are taken the challenges as opportunities, and keeps expanding our operations into new areas; following our vision to establish, and eventually drive Petrogress stronger in the energy” states Petrogress’ CEO, Christos Traios.
The infrastructure facilities for the refinery complex include a pipeline system, access roads, tank storage facilities, and crude and product-handling facilities.
A marine terminal, including a breakwater, jetty and harbour, has also been developed as part of the project.
Other facilities developed to support the project include an administrative building, guardhouses, fire station, and pump stations.
The refinery complex will also house a fertilizer plant, which will utilize the refinery by-products as raw materials.