(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Nigeria has recorded its first investment in hydro-skimming modular refinery, the Minister of State for petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has revealed.
The pioneer investment in the Azikel refinery, which is located in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, is coming at a time the country is battling with a huge budget deficit and foreign exchange challenges occasioned by low oil prices and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria spent N2.95 trillion in 2018 importing petrol.
The Minister had during a physical tour and inspection of the refinery, a subsidiary of the Azikel Group, expressed satisfaction with the level of detailed engineering works and accomplishment deployed in the development of the Azikel Refinery.
He said having achieved 60 per cent completion of the OSBL and the ISBL, Azikel Refinery is the first hydro-skimming refinery near completion in Nigeria among over 26 licensed modular refineries by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Sylva stressed that he is committed to the reversal of the status of net importation of refined products into Nigeria, noting that the hydro-skimming plant is a complete refinery that would support the Federal Government in attaining self-sufficiency in refined products, such as petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and LPG, which is of utmost importance to the country and its economic prosperity.
‘The Azikel Refinery will create the export of refined products from Bayelsa State to the rest of Nigeria, producing daily 1.5 million litres of petrol and 1million litres of diesel and 500,000 litres of kerosene and aviation fuel, thereby reversing the stigma of Nigeria as a net importer of refine products, despite being the 5th largest producer of crude oil in the world.’
The Minister said Buhari’s dream to industrialise the Niger Delta in the area of infrastructure and employment was been actualised by the Azikel Refinery through the additional workforce and skills that would be employed in the refinery, as well as the multiplier value chain of several job opportunities that would be created for Nigerians.
He commended the strategic role of the NDCMB in the development of the project, as well as the participation of the NNPC, NAOC, Total and SPDC’s commitment for the supply of feedstock for the refinery. He also lauded the participation of McDemott, which is handling the engineering procurement and fabrication (EPF), ISBL process modules and Chemic-Tech for the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) of the OSBL and installation of the ISBL, as well as other international companies, even as he urged them to impact knowledge on the locals to enable Nigerians developed specialised skills in further development of refining industry.
The Minister commended the President of Azikel Group, Dr. Azibapu Eruani, for his commitment and show of dexterity in developing the refinery and enjoined businessmen and youths in the Niger Delta to emulate his exemplary commitment towards human capital development, industrialisation of the Niger Delta and creation of sustainable wealth and financial freedom for all.
In his response, Eruani, who is also the President of Azikel Petroleum Refinery, said the Group is creating a new industrialisation of the Niger Delta, while the refinery has engaged youths in the region and Nigerians with several job opportunities.
He also lauded foreign companies participating companies in the project, the Nigeria sub-contractors and staff of Azikel Refinery, as well as NNPC, NAOC, Total and SPDC for the agreeing to uninterrupted supply of crude oil to the refinery.
Eruani expressed appreciation to Buhari for granting the Azikel Refinery licence, promising to actualise the administration’s objective of industrialising the country, creating multiplier jobs for the youths and all Nigerians.
POTENTIAL IMPACT: The project, when completely and fully operational, will contribute significantly to the reversal of the country’s status as a net importer of refined products, despite being the 5th largest producer of crude oil in the world, as the hydro-skimming plant is a complete refinery that would support the Federal Government in becoming self-sufficient in refined products, such as petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and LPG, considering the fact that the country operates a mono-mineral, oil-dependent economy.
Again, the additional workforce and skills that would be employed in the refinery, as well as the multiplier value chain of several job opportunities that would be created for Nigerians. makes it a worthwhile project.