By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) says it will partner Waltersmith Petroleum Oil Limited to assist Equatorial Guinea in developing modular refineries in the central African nation.
Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, disclosed this in a statement issued by the board in Abuja on Sunday.
He spoke at the hosting of the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea, Mr Gabriel Lima, at the 5,000 barrels a day Waltersmith modular refinery being developed at Ibigwe in Imo.
He said that the building of modular refineries in Equatorial Guinea would enable the country to process some of its crude oil and derive increased value from the hydrocarbon resources.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NCDMB has 30 per cent equity investment in the Walthersmith Modular refinery.
Wabote described the cooperation between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea as a perfect example of the benefits of the recently signed Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).
This, he said, had encourages African countries to trade and cooperate among themselves.
He maintained that governments and businesses in Africa needed to cooperate closely to lift the continent out of its present state, rather than depending on foreign assistance and aid.
Wabote highlighted the local content benefits of the Waltersmith modular refinery, noting that it was being built by a local company and 90 per cent of the workers were Nigerians.
In his remarks Lima said that his country planed to replicate the Nigerian modular refinery initiative, so that it could stop the wholesome export of its crude oil and begin to add value to the resource.
He underscored the need for knowledge and experience sharing amongst African countries, particularly in the petroleum sector.
Lima also expressed delight that a new dawn had come in the African oil industry where nations needed to start utilising their crude oil resources more efficiently.
“We cannot continue to export crude oil. We should start processing our products and we are watching what Nigeria is doing and we want to replicate them.
“There are a lot of things we can learn from brotherly countries and in this case, Nigeria. Rather than go to Europe or U.S. or Asia, we decided to visit our neighbour to see what they do.
“We believe that with this cooperation and experience between our country and Waltersmith and the Nigerian petroleum industry we should be able to replicate it,” he said.
He commended stakeholders in the Nigerian petroleum industry for the achievements recorded so far with modular refineries, noting that Nigeria had vast experience in the hydrocarbons industry.
Lima added that Equatorial Guinea would also understudy the commercial aspects of the modular refinery project to ensure that its planned investments would be economically viable.
Welcoming the Minister, Chairman Waltersmith Petroleum Oil Limited, Mr Abdulrazaq Isah, stated that his company participated in an international tender in Equatorial Guinea and was declared the winner in one of the offshore blocks.
He thanked the government of Equatorial Guinea for the opportunity afforded Waltersmith to participate in the tender, be properly evaluated and declared winner of the asset.
He assured the Minister of Waltersmith’s commitment to invest in Equatorial Guinea and support the development of the hydrocarbons industry
“Part of what we indicated to them was our capacity to plan and execute projects and we have submitted that to them.
“We see a lot of opportunities and similarities about our two countries and we are going to share our experience, capacity, technology and knowledge base that we have as Nigerians who have operated in this industry in the last 50 years,” he said
Isah further announced that the initial target was to deliver the Ibigwe modular refinery project in two years, but it is now on track to be completed in 18 months.
“By May 2020, we are going to commission the refinery and we will also do the ground breaking of the second phase of the refinery, which will take us to a total capacity of 30,000 barrels of oil per day,” he confirmed.(NAN)