**WalterSmith project in line with President Buhari’s vision to boost Nigeria’s oil refining capacity – NCDMB
President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow formally commission the WalterSmith 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery at Ibigwe, Ohaji/Egbema local government area of Imo State.
The Modular Refinery project is part of the initiative of the Buhari administration to boost local refining of petroleum products to end importation and create jobs and opportunities for people in the Niger Delta region.
The President will be supported at the event by the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva and Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, among other top government officials, oil industry regulators and stakeholders. The president will also perform the ground-breaking ceremony for the 45,000 barrels per day refinery also initiated by Waltersmith.
The event will also feature goodwill messages from top industry players, partners and community leaders. At a recent pre-commissioning visit to the refinery, Yusuf Usman, Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power, said, “It is a landmark achievement and it shows that we can actually refine our crude oil in-country.” The modular refinery has a crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and is projected to deliver over 271million liters per annum of refined petroleum products, including Kerosene, Diesel, Naphtha and Heavy Fuel Oils, to the domestic market. The bulk of crude oil supply for this phase will come from Waltersmith’s upstream business, with backup from the OML 53 (Ohaji South) Seplat/NNPC JV third party crude currently processed at Waltersmith Ibigwe Flowstation and additionally from the 2020 Marginal Fields Bid Round for a nearby asset.
The company then partnered with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to raise the required financing. NCDMB are 30 per cent equity partners while AFC committed senior secured credit facility towards the project.
“From the very day we keyed into this project in line with the President’s aspiration to grow the country’s oil refining capacity, we felt very happy that we are associated with Waltersmith, a serious-minded company”, said executive secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote.
The Chairman, Waltersmith Group, Abdulrazaq Isa, said, “The first module to be commissioned tomorrow is 5,000bpd refining capacity. We are looking at 50,000bpd refining capacity that will come with the planned additional two modules; 25,000bpd and 20,000bpd refining capacity respectively which will then add PMS, Aviation fuel and LPG to the product slates.” Waltersmith obtained the ‘License to Establish’ the modular refinery from DPR in June 2015 and got the ‘Authority to Construct’ in March 2017.