Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday in China, expanded the portfolio of foreign investments in the state, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese consortium (SINOPEC) for a 5,500 barrel per day (bpd) modular refinery in the state.
The event is coming after a similar MoU was signed with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited in Beijing, for the development of the Gelegele Seapor also in Edo State.
The Chinese consortium that will handle the modular refinery, is made up of Peiyang Chemical Equipment Company of China (PCC), a world leading modular refinery company; Sinopec International Petroleum Service Corporation (SIPS), which is a subsidiary of Sinopec, the top Chemical giant in the world and African Infrastructure Partners (AIP), a Nigerian Infrastructural company.
The first phase of the project is expected to be ready in twelve months after all the necessary approvals are granted by the regulatory authorities.
The MoU signing took place at SINOPEC headquarters in Beijing, China, and was witnessed by officials of the Nigerian Embassy, as well as staff of SIPS Nigeria, a major local fabrication company, with a branch in Benin City.
In his speech at the event, Obaseki, expressed delight at the local content component of the deal, which will ensure that Edo citizens are trained in welding, refinery operation and fabrication works, to enable them participate in the construction of the refinery as well as in its operation, post-commissioning.
He gave assurance that building the refinery will provide jobs for several unemployed Edo youths, including the Libya returnees of Edo State extration..
Obaseki said the modular refinery will solve the problem of inadequate petroleum products in the country and will turn Edo State to the preferred source of petroleum products, considering the gateway status of the state to other parts of the country.
He expressed deep appreciation to the management of PCC and SIPS, saying that with their support, Edo State is well on its way to becoming a hub of skilled manpower for the oil and gas industry and give boost to Nigeria’s local content policy.
He said with the Federal Government’s support, communities in the Niger Delta can set up modular refineries, saying this would keep the SIPS fabrication yard busy, as it could be engaged in handling the fabrication jobs of upcoming modular refineries in the Niger Delta Region.
He pledged his administration’s support to assist and secure all regulatory approvals from the appropriate authorities, such as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for others willing to build modular refineries.
The Consortium said it is committed to delivering phase 1 of the project within 12 months of receiving the required regulatory approvals.
In addition, PCC also agreed to finance the Demonstration modular refinery up to 70 per cent, thereby assisting in scaling the financing hurdle that has militated against the development of modular refineries in Nigeria.
The project will be executed in two phases; phase 1 consists of 500bpd demonstration refinery, while phase 2 consists of a 5,000bpd capacity refinery. The PCC will also serve as the operations and management partner, that will manage the refinery before its eventual transfer to the local investors.
The demonstration refinery will serve as proof of concept and would train the indigenes in the management of the refinery.