President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the deployment of modular refineries, one of the four of his administration’s Refinery Roadmap rolled out in 2018, will not only make the country selfsufficient in production of petroleum, but also a net exporter of the products.
The President said this yesterday at the virtual inauguration of the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith modular refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State as well as the ground-breaking ceremony for the phase-2 works to expand the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels per day.
Buhari has also directed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in the Ministry of Petroleum and other relevant agencies to make crude available to the company to sustain its operations. According to a statement made available to newsmen by his spokesman, Femi Asesina, Buhari expressed delight that Waltersmith refinery was coming on stream within two years of the commencement of the Roadmap, after many years of granting licenses for the establishment of modular refineries with nothing to show for it.
Buhari added that there was also increased momentum in the other three focus areas under the Roadmap covering the Rehabilitation of existing refineries, colocation of new refineries, and construction of greenfield refineries.
”The realization of the Refinery Roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products not only to our neighbouring countries, but to the worldwide market. ”This modular refinery is the largest commissioned modular refinery in the country today.
‘The role played by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in going into collaboration with Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company is novel in concept and superb in delivery,” he said.
The President described plans to commence the expansion of the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels per day to refine crude oil and condensates as an important part of economic reforms in the country.
”I look forward to seeing this new phase completed within the target timeframe,” he said. The President directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, DPR, NNPC as well as all relevant government agencies to provide Waltersmith Company all the necessary support to access crude oil and condensate feedstock for the timely delivery of the additional capacity.
Buhari said he was pleased to note that hundreds of direct and indirect jobs created during the construction of the first phase of the refinery project in addition to various business opportunities.
The President equally expressed the hope that the construction of the second phase of the project will create bigger additional employment opportunities. Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources cut the tape on behalf of the President at the event which was also attended by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari; the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote and the Chairman of WalterSmith, Abdulrazaq Isa.