President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said the establishment of modular refineries in the country will make petroleum products available in the country and eliminate importation.
The President spoke at the virtual inauguration of the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith modular refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State, as well as the ground breaking ceremony for the phase two works to expand the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels per day.
Buhari said the deployment of modular refineries was one of the four key elements of his administration’s Refinery Roadmap rolled out in 2018, adding that its implementation will make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products.
He expressed delight that Waltersmith refinery in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State was coming on stream within two years of the commencement of the Roadmap, after many years of granting licenses for the establishment of modular refineries with nothing to show for it.
”Furthermore, there is increased momentum in the other three focus areas under the Roadmap covering the Rehabilitation of existing refineries, Co-location of new refineries, and Construction of greenfield refineries.
”The realization of the Refinery Roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products not only to our neighbouring countries but to the worldwide market.
”This modular refinery is the largest commissioned modular refinery in the country today.
”The role played by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in going into collaboration with Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company is novel in concept and superb in delivery,” he said.
The President described plans to commence the expansion of the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels per day to refine crude oil and condensates as an important part of economic reforms the country is undergoing.
”I look forward to seeing this new phase completed within the target timeframe,” he said.
Buhari, therefore, directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), NNPC, as well as all relevant government agencies to provide Waltersmith all the necessary support to access crude oil and condensate feedstock for the timely delivery of the additional capacity.
The President said he was pleased to note that hundreds of direct and indirect jobs were created during the construction of the first phase of the project in addition to the various business opportunities.