President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday inaugurated a 5,000 barrels-per-day Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Imo State. The refinery is envisaged to become a 50, 000-bpd plant in the nearest future.
The President said the realisation of the refinery roadmap, which was rolled out two years ago, will enable Nigeria to export petroleum products to neighbouring countries and other markets.
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He commended Waltersmith Group, an indigenous oil firm, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board for the collaboration that led to the construction of the refinery.
In addition, he directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Department of Petroleum Resources and all other relevant government agencies to provide all the necessary support to the refinery with respect to access to crude oil and condensate feedstock.
Buhari said, “We rolled out our refining roadmap in 2018, to address challenges in the downstream sector. After many years of government giving out modular refining licences without any coming on-stream, we are today seeing a commissioning within two years.
“The plan to commence the expansion of this refinery to 50,000bpd capacity, to refine crude oil and condensate, is a demonstration of the economic reform Nigeria is undergoing.”
According to him, the refinery roadmap includes the rehabilitation of the existing refineries, collocation of new refineries and construction of greenfield plants.
“The realisation of the refinery roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, not only to our neighbouring countries but to other wide markets,” he said.
The Chairman, Waltersmith Group, Mr Abdulrazaq Isa, said the refinery would deliver over 271 million litres of refined petroleum products yearly, including kerosene, diesel, naphtha and heavy fuel oils, to the domestic market.
Isa also said the refinery started operations in November and had already supplied five million litres of petroleum products to the domestic market.