The bio-diesel production project to be executed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC will generate 14 megawatts of electricity from the 26,000 hectares facility in Cross River state.
The NNPC, in a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said that this electricity would be generated from empty fruit bunches and the residue from oil palms.
Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, explained that the facility was designed to accommodate an oil palm plantation which is co-located with bio-diesel, crude palm oil co-generation plants and other facilities. Mr. Ughamadu said the oil palm would be processed into fuel grade bio diesel which would then be blended with diesel as a combination of 20 percent bio diesel and 80 percent diesel and sold in the domestic market as B20. Any un-utilized bio diesel would then be sold in the international market.
He further explained that the inception of the NNPC Cross River bio-fuel project is in agreement with the renewed drive by the corporation to develop biofuels in Nigeria by collaborating with core investors to not only create a low carbon economy but also link the oil and gas sector to the agricultural sector which are two of the nation’s highest revenue generators.
Mr. Ughamadu also noted that the project would provide an adverse effect of climate change and the transformation of NNPC into an integrated energy company with diverse portfolio.
In his words, “The business model would involve a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising NNPC, State Government and the Core investor”. The State Government is expected to provide land as equity while core investor takes more than 50 percent equity and operate the venture leaving NNPC and the State Government with minority share of less than 50 percent.”
Some states in the country have shown interest in partnering with the corporation in the biofuels projects. Some of these states are: Kebbi, Ondo, Taraba, Benue, Jigawa, Kogo, Adamawa etc. Ughamadu revealed that NNPC has already begun to engage the stakeholders and dwellers of Iwure, Ojor and Akin communities of Cross River state ahead of the planned oil palm-based biodiesel project.
According to vanguard, the officials of the corporation’s Renewable Energy Division, RED, are currently equipping the communities involved and its indigenes with necessary information on the benefits of the project. Also, he said the NNPC Research and Development Division, R&D, was also being engaged for the conduct of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, ESIA, for the projects.