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  • Oil & Gas - Energy
  • Updated: October 27, 2020

Waltersmith Modular Refinery Ready To Commence Operations -DPR

The 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) Waltersmith Modular Refinery project is finally ready for the commencement of operations.

The Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Sarki Auwalu, made the disclosure during a recent visit to a pre-commissioning of the project site in Ibigwe, Imo State.

Originally billed for yesterday, the official launching of the refinery had to be put on hold as a result of the nationwide protest.

Speaking at the event, Auwalu stated, “We can confirm that the refinery is very much ready to commence operations. We have seen all the preparations. To us, the plant is
alive. The commissioning is just symbolic. Everywhere is ready to start off. My overall assessment is excellent.

“We have been to other modular refineries but we have not seen anything like this: the space, the way it is arranged, and the way it will work”, Auwalu said.

Auwalu, therefore, urged Nigerians to see the agency as an enabler rather than a regulator. He added that their focus was on how to create opportunities for Nigeria’s vast oil and gas resources to be properly managed for the betterment of Nigerians.

In his words, “The role we play is to enable businesses and create opportunities. When DPR issues you a license, it enables you to invest. It is that opportunity we create that enables businesses to grow.”

Speaking further, he added, “Waltersmith is one of our success stories. We consider the project as ours. We have been tracking their growth and we are happy to see that our child is growing. It is our plan that they expand and they have the potential.”

With a yearly projection to deliver over 271 million liters of refined petroleum products which consist of diesel, kerosene, naphtha, and heavy fuel oils to the domestic market. The 5,000bpd modular refinery has a crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels.

Auwalu revealed further that the bulk of the crude supply for this phase will come from Waltersmith’s upstream business with backup from a nearby third-party crude.

READ MORE: Dangote Refinery To Begin Operation 2021

Also speaking at the visit about the state of readiness of the new refinery was the Chairman of Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, Abdulrasaq Isah, who said, “What you see here is a proof of the absolute faith we have in our country. We want to demonstrate that it is practically a waste of resources to produce crude oil and just sell it. It is more impactful to add value and make more significant impact on the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of our nation.

“This is the first phase of a series of refinery development which will culminate in the delivery of up to 50,000bpd refining capacity that will expand the product slate to include petrol, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Aviation fuel”, Isah said.

He added that the expansion plan consists of a 20,000bpd crude oil refinery and a standalone 25,000bpd condensate refinery both of which are at the early stages of project development.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive of Waltersmith, Chikezie Nwosu, emphasised the need for the sustainability of the refinery project, stating that domestic consumption was more sustainable than exporting crude.

“With export, there are things you do not have control over and for every dollar you gain by exporting crude oil as a commodity, you gain multiples of those dollars in terms of GDP growth by consuming the energy within the economy”, Nwosu said.

Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, which obtained its License to establish from DPR in June 2015 and obtained authority to construct in March 2017, partnered with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The NCDMB is a 30 percent equity holder while the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) committed significant financing to the project.

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