President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow Tuesday, November 24 formally commission the 5,000 per day modular refinery at Ibigwe, Ohaji/Egbema local government area of Imo State.
The president personally decided to inaugurate the refinery because the project is key to his administration’s initiative to boost local refining of petroleum products to end importation and also make Nigeria the refining hub of Africa.
President Buhari would be supported at the epoch making event by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva and the Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, among other top government officials, oil industry regulators and stakeholders.
The president would also perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the 45,000 barrels per day refinery, also initiated by Waltersmith.
The event would also feature goodwill messages from top industry players, partners and community leaders.
At a recent pre-commissioning visit to the refinery, Yusuf Usman, Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power speaking on the success of the refinery, stated that “It is a landmark achievement and it shows that we can actually refine our crude oil in-country.”
The modular refinery has a crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and is projected to deliver over 271 million liters per annum of refined petroleum products which include kerosene, diesel, naphtha, and heavy fuel oils to the domestic market.
The bulk of crude oil supply for this phase would come from Waltersmith’s upstream business with backup from the OML 53 (Ohaji South) Seplat/NNPC JV third party crude currently processed at Waltersmith Ibigwe flow station and additionally from the 2020 Marginal Fields Bid Round for a nearby asset.
Abdulrazaq Isa, Chairman, Waltersmith Group 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 license to establish the modular refinery from the Department of Petroleum Resources (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.