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Buhari unveils oil refineries in Imo

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned the first phase of a 5000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Ibigwe, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State and conducted ground breaking for another 45,000 bpd refinery.

  With a storage capacity of 60,000 barrels, the project will expand the local market by 271 million litres of refined products comprising diesel, kerosene, heavy fuel oils and naphta based on estimates.

  Buhari, in a virtual ceremony, said progress in Nigeria’s refining sector would eliminate imports and increase local availability. The president had named modular refineries as one of the four elements in the government’s refinery roadmap, launched in 2018.

  “There is increased momentum in the other three focus areas under the roadmap covering the rehabilitation of existing refineries, co-location of new refineries, and construction of greenfield refineries,” he said.

  “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.”

  “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,” said Abdulrazaq Isa, chair of the Waltersmith Group.

  The crude oil for the current phase will come essentially from Waltersmith’s upstream unit and Oil Mining Lease 53, a joint venture between Seplat Petroleum and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.

  The group received a ‘License to Establish’ the plant from the Department of Petroleum Resources in June 2015 after which it obtained the ‘Authority to Construct’ some twenty one months after.

  Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma and Nigerian Ministry of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva cut the tape on behalf of Buhari. Also in attendance at the ceremony was NNPC’s head Mele Kyari and NCDMB’s executive secretary Simbi Wabote.

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