The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, says the Federal Government will continue to support efforts to ensure the take-off of Waltersmith Modular Refinery by May 2020.
Sylva gave the assurance during an inspection tour of the refinery construction site located in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Modular refinery is owned by Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited (70 per cent) and Nigerian Content Development and Management Board (NCDMB 30 per cent).
The Phase one of the modular refinery and the ground breaking ceremony of the Phase two is expected to hold in May 2020.
The modular refinery after completion is expected to deliver 30,000 barrels of petrol products per day.
The Minister said that his visit was to inspect the project which had reached completion status of more than 90 per cent.
“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.”
“The overall expectation was to see indigenous Nigerian Companies do well and the Waltersmith Modular Refinery is a major bright spot which has recently been incorporated into the Nation’s projection for petroleum product sufficiency and availability.” he said.
He further commended the Board and Management of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, and advised that focus should be placed on corporate social responsibility to ensure a sustained and successful relationship with the host community.
He also commended the NCMDB for its role in the execution of the project.
He pedged the commitment of the Federal Government in ensuring that the expected refinery operations commencement date of May 2020, was achieved.
Mr Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary, NCMDB said that the partnership the board forged with Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited had clearly shown the power in public-private investments.
Wabote said that all the necessary mechanisms had been put in place to ensure the full realisation of objectives of the project.
He further noted that the initial partnership with Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited was stemmed from the quest to achieve President Muhammadu Buhari’s aspiration to improve in-country refined products capacity.
He expressed optimism that the May 2020 completion date of the phase one (5,000 barrels per day), would coincide with the launch of the phase two of the project, targeted at delivering 25,000 barrels per day crude.
According to him, the modular refinery will deliver crude and condensate that will produce gasoline, diesel, LPG, kerosene and aviation fuel.
Also, the Chairman of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr AbdulRazaq Isa, said that the fundamental reasons for embarking on the project included, but not limited to crude loss resulting from crude handling and the cost of crude transportation from the marginal fields owned by Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited.
He noted that the project owners had worked assiduously to ensure the phase one delivery timeline which had been pegged at 18 months.
According to him, the phase one is expected to contribute about 271 million litres of refined products including Diesel, Naphtha, HFO and Kerosene annually to the domestic market.
“It will create both direct and indirect jobs particularly within the host communities,’’ he said.
In his presentation, the Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr Chikezie Nwosu, commended the partnership of the NCDMB in the project.
He noted that the 30,000 barrels per day was a partnership between Waltersmith and NCDMB with the board providing major guidance and contributions on Nigerian Content, Technical and Commercial issues and Corporate Governance.
He recalled that the FID for the Refinery Project was taken in September 2018 with an 18-month Delivery time from November 2018 to May 2020, for Phase 1. (NAN)