Petrocam International’s plan to build a 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery will hasten Nigeria’s quest for improved locally refined products.
Also, the firm is contemplating off-grid solution to improve power supply.
The South African-based oil trading giant is investing in the refinery to improve fuel supply for domestic consumption which is put at 41 million litres per day, according to the monthly report of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Speaking after the inauguration of its seventh solar- powered fuel station in Epe, Lagos, Petrocam Nigeria Limited’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick Ilo said off-grid electricity was the way out of Nigeria’s power challenges. He urged Nigerians to generate electricity from solar, biomass and wind to complement power from the national grid.
Petrocam, he said, was generating solar power in its retail outlets, adding that issues, such as provision of power and refining of petroleum products, must be given necessary attention.
He said Petrocam went into crude oil refining, after appraising the country’s fuel market and realising the necessity to provide such services to help contribute to the country’s development. Ilo said Petrocam has deep roots in oil trading and allied services.
“We are looking at setting up a refinery in Nigeria. The issue is topping our agenda and we will not leave any stone unturned to achieve our objective of providing a refinery that is producing optimally in the country. We have the idea of setting up a refinery in our sleeves; we are talking of a large refinery plant that can process 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day. May be, Petrocam can start with a modular refinery and later make it a bigger refinery plant, as our efforts are geared towards improving local fuel production and consumption in Nigeria.
“Already, Petrocam is playing well in the Nigerian downstream sub-sector of the oil and gas industry, where it has blazed the trail, by using solar to power its fuel retail outlets and adjoining roads in communities where the outlets are located. What we do is that we ensure that the outlets are directly facing the equator in order to generate and store enough energy, as much as possible,” Ilo said.
Solar energy, he pointed out, offers huge benefits, as it is able to power tanks containing 270,000 litres of fuel in Epe, adding that a tank is made up of 45,000 litres and that when you multiply it by six tanks, you have 270,000 litres .
He said the government needs to deregulate the downstream sector, if its going to achieve the objective of allowing privately-owned refineries to operate in the country.
“In order to enable privately-owned and government refineries come on stream and operate well, the deregulation of the downstream sub-sector is necessary,” saying when this happens, owners of the refineries would be able to get enough returns on their investments. “Once investors get returns that are proportionate to their investment, they are satisfied with it. When returns are coming regularly, the issue of obtaining facility from banks by investors to move the business forward, will not be a challenge in the industry,“ he added.
On subsidy, Ilo said the government is spending huge sum on payment of subsidies to marketers, saying the government should as well spend the money on infrastructure.