The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, has taken a 30 percent stake in the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith refinery to be located at Ibigwe, Imo State.
The NCDMB last week signed a $10 million equity investment agreement with Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited for the modular refinery.
Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, and the Director of Finance and Personnel Management, Mr. Isaac Yalah, signed on behalf of the Board while the Chairman of Waltersmith, Mr. Abdulrasaq Isah, and the Executive Vice-Chairman, Mr. Danjuma Sale, signed for the company.
Wabote said the investment decision was in line with the Board’s vision “to be the catalyst for the industrialisation of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.”
The Board, he said, was also keen to support the Federal Government’s policy on modular refineries and meet the key objectives of the Petroleum Industry’s Seven Big Wins launched by President Mohammed Buhari in October 2016 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Programme, EGRP.
“We have our exit strategy in place to ensure that the refinery reverts back as a fully owned, privately run modular refinery as our role is clearly defined as a catalyst,” the NCDMB boss stated.
Commended Waltersmith for developing a bankable proposal, he said “they sorted out the project feasibility, regulatory approvals and other pertinent details before reaching out to the Board with the value they are bringing to the table and a clear definition of the support they seek.”
Wabote confirmed that NCDMB, in line with its mandate in the NOGICD Act 2010 and as part of the Nigerian Content 10-year strategic roadmap, would intervene and fund projects and activities directed at increasing Nigerian Content in the oil and gas industry, especially those that utilise available resources in-country, add value and create jobs locally.
“Establishment of LPG depots, resuscitation of abandoned or establishment of new LPG cylinder manufacturing plants, partnerships on mini-petrochemical plants and several others fall into the pack of interventions we are willing to look at,” he said, advising project sponsors and promoters of modular refineries seeking the Board’s support to study the checklist of requirements hosted on the Board’s website.
He restated his belief that at least 10 percent of Nigeria’s oil production should be refined using modular refineries and assured that the Board would be willing to consider proposals that meet the guidelines.
Chairman of Waltersmith, Mr. Isah, explained that the modular refinery project was originally conceived to mitigate the incessant vandalism of the company’s crude oil pipelines but feasibility studies later indicated that it could be a viable business because of the significant demand for refined petroleum products.
He disclosed that the refinery would be sited close to the firm’s oil field at Ibigwe, Imo State, and that the refined products would be distributed to consumers within 40-kilometre radius of the plant.
He expressed optimism that the project would support the Federal Government’s plan to substitute imported refined petroleum products and as well as the strategy to use the establishment of modular refineries to address the menace of pipeline vandalism, illegal refining and other social challenges prevalent in the oil-producing region.