Benue bio-fuel project: NNPC to select core investor soon– Baru

NNPC MD, Dr Maikanti Baru

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday said it has almost concluded discussion on the choice of a core investor for the proposed bio-fuel plant in Benue State.

The Group Managing Director of the corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru, disclosed this during a follow-up meeting with the Benue State delegation led by Deputy Governor of the State, Benson Abounu.

According to a statement issued by NNPC Group General Manager Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja, Baru, said arrangements had been finalised to name the prospective investor in the weeks ahead.

Represented at the meeting by the Chief Operating Officer, Ventures Directorate, Dr Babatunde Adeniran, the NNPC GMD said the core investor would provide 70 per cent of the required funding for the project.

According to him, the Benue State government and the NNPC will take up the balance equity contribution.

Baru said upon completion, the plant was projected to generate about one million direct and indirect jobs for the populace, noting that the project would help link the energy sector with the agricultural sector through the commercial production of bio-fuels from selected energy crops.

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The NNPC boss listed other components of the project to include a sugar cane feedstock plantation of about 20,000 hectares; a cane mill and raw/refined sugar plant capable of producing 126,000 tonnes annually.

According to him, it also includes a fuel-ethanol processing plant with production capacity of 84 million litres annually.

“The bio-fuels projects will also help to establish the bio-gas cogeneration power plant which will generate 64 MW; a carbon dioxide recovery and bottling plant that will produce 2, 000 tonnes annually as well as an animal feed plant that will produce 63, 000 tons annually.’’

The statement also quoted Abonu, as saying “Benue State is offering the 20, 000 hectares of irrigable land space along the bank of the river Benue as its equity contribution to the project’’.

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“In addition to a yet to be specified tranche of funds to shore up its stake to the level of directorship in the yet to be constituted board.’’

Abonu also commended the NNPC on the strides so far recorded, and assured that the state government had since taken concrete measures to sensitise the host communities on the bio-fuel project.

According to the deputy governor, the state government has also sensitised host communities to ongoing effort by the corporation for fresh hydrocarbon found in the Benue trough.