The Eko Petrochemical Refinery Ltd., to be built at a cost of $250 million (about N90 billion) will create over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs when completed.
The Chairman of the company, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, made this known on Tuesday in Lagos.
He said that the 20,000 barrels per day crude oil refinery project site at the Tomaro Industrial Park and Free Trade Zone in Lagos was designed to boost refining capacity in the country.
Iheanacho said that the company is currently talking to investors who had expressed interest toward investing in the refinery, saying that construction would commence soon when all agreements would have been signed.
According to him, we are currently at the fund-raising stage and when that is completed, we will commence construction because it is a capital intensive project.
The Eko Refinery, when completed, would produce Automated Gas Oil (AGO) otherwise known as diesel, kerosene, export quality aviation fuel and fuel oil.
“Tomaro Island with about 90 hectares is designed as a one-stop shop which will comprise refinery, flour mill, ship repair yard, helipad site and resort centre.
“It will also create massive employment for our teeming youths. Crude would come to the refinery through vessels for refining,’’ he said.
Iheanacho said: “Refineries are very important infrastructure in the country and it will enhance the image and prestige of the country.’’
He said that the U.S. Trade and Development Agency had supported with a grant of $1m (N360million) for the detailed engineering design of 20,000 barrels per day Eko Petrochemical modular refinery.
He said that the agency had also commended the management of the company for the level of work done so far on the project and assured of its total support.
He said that DPR had given the approval authority to construct.
“In the scheme of our current national priorities, the requirement to develop indigenous refining capacity on Nigerian soil is very high indeed’’.
“Local refining capacity will allow us realise our ambition with respect to import substitution potential, leading to great savings in scarce forex requirements.
“Local refiners will facilitate the goal of value addition to our oil trade as well as lead to lower costs of consumed refined products in the country.
“We intend to have recourse to traditional and special funding sources in our search for investment funds for our refinery development project,’’ Iheanacho said.
He said that $250 million was expected to complete the refinery, saying that some companies had shown interest in financing the project and handling the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC).
Iheanacho, however, appealed to the Federal Government to support indigenous oil companies striving to grow the oil and gas sector.
He suggested that government should also support local companies with funds.
“We are in absolute support of growing indigenous capacity in every facet of our oil and gas industry.
“This is because the local companies are paying their taxes, reinvesting their capital and creating enormous job opportunities for the larger community,’’ he said.
Iheanacho said that with such encouragement, Nigeria’s participation in the industry would rise significantly in line with government’s aspirations with the Nigerian Content Act.