In continuation of efforts at making Edo state of Nigeria an investment destination and attracting foreign direct investments, the Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese consortium for construction of a 5,500 barrel per day modular refinery within the state.
A statement from the Governor’s office, noted that the event was actualised shortly after a similar MoU was signed with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited in Beijing, China, for the development of the Gelegele Seaport in Edo State.
The Chinese consortium handling 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 statement explained that the first phase of the project would be ready within 12 months after all the necessary approvals were granted by the regulatory authorities.
The MoU signing ceremony for the refinery took place at SINOPEC headquarters in Beijing, China, and was witnessed by officials of the Nigerian Embassy in the Asian country as well as staff of SIPS Nigeria, a major local fabrication company, with a branch in Benin City, Edo State.
Speaking at the event, Governor Obaseki, expressed his delight at the local content component of the deal, which would 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 its operation and post-commissioning.
The Governor expressed optimism that the refinery construction would provide jobs for several unemployed Edo youths including the Libya returnees who were being evacuated from the crisis-ridden North African country.
Obaseki added that the modular refinery would solve the problem of inadequate petroleum products in the country and turn Edo State to be 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 reiterating 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.
“With the federal government of Nigeria’s commitment to support communities in the Niger Delta states to set up modular refineries, the SIPS fabrication yard in Benin City is expected to be very busy handling the fabrication jobs of modular refineries in the Niger Delta Region,” Obaseki said.
He pledged that his administration would provide community support to the project, assist in securing all regulatory approvals from the appropriate regulatory authorities such as the federal ministry of petroleum resources.
The Consortium 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 consisting of 500bpd demonstration refinery and phase 2 consisting of a 5,000bpd capacity refinery. The PCC will also serve as the Operations and Management company that will manage the refinery before transferring it to the local investors.
The demonstration refinery will serve as proof of concept and to train the indigenes in the management of the refinery.