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Brass Methanol Plant to create 35,000 jobs as NCDMB, NNPC stake US$670m

The  construction of the 10,000 tonnes/day methanol production plant by the Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical Company Ltd (BFPCL), would not only be the largest methanol plant in Africa and the first in Nigeria, the construction phase is expected to create 30,000 direct and indirect jobs, as well as an additional 5,000 permanent jobs during the operations phase.

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and DSV Engineering had last Friday signed the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the construction of 10,000 tonnes/day methanol production plant by the Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical Company Ltd (BFPCL), committing equity investment of US$670m.

According to the financing plan, the project is estimated to cost about US$3.5bn and aside the equity from NCDMB, NNPC and DSV, there is an impressive cast of lenders which includes a consortium of Chinese banks led by the China Exim Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), international commercial banks, regional banks and African institutions and they would be expected to raise 70 percent of the project cost.

Other agreements that have been firmed up include a Gas Supply Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) led joint venture, offtake agreements and contracts for Engineering Procurement and Construction and technology provider.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Malam Mele Kolo Kyari and Executive Vice-Chairman of BFPCL, Chief Ben Okoye signed the FID on behalf of their organisations.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva said the project was part of the strategic efforts to maximize value and monetize the country’s vast gas endowments. He stated that President Muhammed Buhari had in July 2020 “approved the development of the Brass Gas Company with the sole aim of aggregating and monetizing all stranded gas in the Brass area, which amounts to over 10 trillion cubic feet of gas, into the processing facilities to be built in the hub.”

He expressed confidence that the project would have significant economic and developmental impact on the country, including support for gas-based industries, revenue generation and import substitution for methanol needs of the nation that is currently 100 percent imported.

Other economic benefits include foreign direct investment, economic diversification, acceleration of Nigeria’s march to zero gas flaring and community development through the company’s plan to offer one percent equity to host communities.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary NCDMB underscored the significance of two Federal Government’s agencies – NCDMB and NNPC catalysing investments in the country. He added that the project would place Nigeria in the world’s map as one of the top 10 producers of methanol.

He emphasised that Local Content can only grow sustainably when there are oil and gas projects, adding that a mega project of this size provides opportunities to utilize local capacities and capabilities built over the years.

He further explained that opportunities provided by the project in job creation, gas utilization, local availability of methanol for primary and secondary users, formed part of the basis of the Board’s decision to partner with Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemicals Company Ltd to enhance delivery of the project.

Wabote also commended Chief Sylva for recording huge achievements in the energy sector, at a time when most nations are unsure of decisions to make amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He listed some of the Minister’s accomplishments to include the signing of Train-7 FID, Gas Flares Commercialisation, Marginal Field bid rounds, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Refining Roadmap, and others.

The GMD NNPC in his comments described the BFPCL as the most third most important project that had taken FID in the last five years. He stated that achieving FID for the project was proof of the Federal Government’s commitment to monetize the nation’s gas resources, notwithstanding the challenging investment environment. He pledged the commitment of NNPC to ensure the delivery of the methanol plant on schedule by 2025.

According to him, “The country is blessed with abundant gas resources, over 200 trillion standard cubic feet of gas (tscf) proven, with potential of over 600 tscf. As energy transition processes go on, you must monetize these gases as quickly as possible. NNPC will continue to collaborate with all the strategic partners. We will ensure that feedstock is available for this project and subsequent projects that would happen in the Brass hub.”

Executive Vice-Chairman of BFPCL, Chief Ben Okoye said that jobs that would be created from the project would help to assuage the restiveness in the Niger Delta in addition to the development of a new oil and gas city in Brass Island.

How modular refineries can create over 100,000 indirect jobs – Wabote, NCDMB

*Adds: Modular refineries should refine at least 10% of Nigeria’s oil production

At least 10 per cent of Nigeria’s oil production should be refined through modular refineries as it has the capacity to create about 3,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs, according to the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote.

Wabote stated this on Tuesday during the commissioning of the 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) Waltersmith Modular Refinery, developed with 30 percent equity investment by the NCDMB.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday performed the virtual commissioning of the Waltersmith Modular Refinery, describing the role played by the Board as novel in concept and superb in delivery.

The President also performed the ground-breaking of the refinery expansion at the Ibigwe field, Ochia Community, Ohaji-Egbema Local Government of Imo State. The new phase will first add 25,000 barrels per day processing capacity, before the final phase of new 20,000 bpd, bringing total capacity to 50,000 bpd.

Delivering his address virtually, President Buhari stated that the deployment of modular refineries was one of the four elements of the Refinery Roadmap introduced the Federal Government in 2018 to meet local needs for petroleum products and eliminate importation.

According to a statement from the NCDMB, Wabote canvassed that at least 10 percent of Nigeria’s oil production should be refined through modular refineries, noting that an average of 10 direct jobs are created for every 1,000barrels/day capacity of modular refinery.

He said, “We believe that about 3,000 direct jobs and over 100,000 indirect and induced jobs can be created if 10 percent of Nigeria’s oil production is refined using modular refineries.”

The NCDMB boss also provided the basis of the Board’s equity investment in the 5,000bpd Waltersmith Modular Refinery. He hinted that Section 70(h) of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act mandates the Board to assist local contractors and Nigerian companies to develop their capabilities and capacities to further the attainment of Nigerian Content in the oil and gas sector of the economy.

According to him, “This refinery creates job opportunities and business prospects, enhances availability of petroleum products, and provides ready market for some of our crude cargo within our shores. At current capacity, this refinery will utilize about 1.8million barrels of crude oil. At the completion of the expansion works, this will increase to more than 16million barrels of crude and condensates every year.”

The Executive Secretary confirmed that NCDMB was also in partnership with other investors for the construction of a 2,500bpd modular refinery in Edo State, which will later be expanded to 10,000bpd and another 12,000bpd hydroskimming refinery in Bayelsa State, that will produce a full slate of petroleum products to serve immediate and nearby markets.

In the same vein, President Buhari assured that Government was making good progress in the Rehabilitation of existing refineries, Co-location of new refineries, and Construction of greenfield refineries, with the firm goal of making Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products in a few years’ time.

He also commended the expansion plans of Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical Company and directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and other relevant Government Agencies to provide the company all the necessary support with regards to access to crude oil and condensate feedstock for the timely delivery of the additional capacity.

In his speech, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva applauded Waltersmith and NCDMB for embarking on the project in 2018, considering the immaturity and uncertainty in the downstream sector as at that time. ”It is only investors who have faith and believe in Nigeria, with clear delivery strategy that would have had such boldness,” he emphasised.

He clarified that efforts to achieve sufficiency of locally refined petroleum products “has to be a combination of large-scale processing plants as well as small to medium modular processors which will be enabled by our progressive policies and regulations.”

He challenged other investors to take a cue from Waltersmith and speed up action on similar development efforts to jointly grow the nation’s economy.

The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma while delivering a goodwill message lauded President Buhari for providing purposeful leadership and conducive investment climate that enabled the establishment of the Waltersmith Modular Refinery within two years of conception. He recalled that successive administrations had awarded licenses for similar projects, with none of them coming to fruition.

He assured that the Imo State Government will partner with the host communities to protect the investment, while charging the company to discharge its statutory obligations to government and perform its corporate social responsibility to the communities.

Uniport student wins N1m in Nigerian Content Essay Competition

A second-year student of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr. Abasiekeme Edet, has won N1 million in the 4th edition of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Annual National Undergraduate Essay competition.

According to a statement from the NCDMB, the prize giving ceremony was held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Wednesday and the essay by the 18-year-old was adjudged the best amongst over 6,000 entries submitted by undergraduates who must be within their first and 2nd year in the university.

The topic for this year’s essay contest was “Research & Development as a key lever for Local Content Implementation in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry.”

Miss. Oluwadamilola Elizabeth Oluwafela, a 200-level Medical student, Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State emerged the first runner up and won a cash prize of N500,000, while Mr. Somtochukwu Samson Eze, a 100-level Medicine and Surgery student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State placed third and won a cash prize of N300,000.

Other finalists received HP laptops as consolation prizes.

In his keynote address, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote disclosed that the competition was geared towards developing human and material capacities, which is one of the key mandates of the Board.

He explained that the Board sponsored the contest to create local content awareness among our vibrant youths and make them advocates of Nigerian Content, which is critical to sustainable development of our local economy, job creation and national security.

The Executive Secretary who was represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. Patrick Daziba Obah commended the choice of the topic for this year’s competition, hinting that Research and Development is pivotal to national development and the bedrock of sustainable Local Content.

Obah indicated that the Board’s developed a 10-year R&D roadmap to help promote the culture of research and innovation in Nigeria and support local content development in the oil and gas industry. He identified some key initiatives under the R&D roadmap to include the establishment of a US$50 million Nigerian Content R&D Fund, sponsorship of research prototypes, commercialization of research findings and setting up of R&D Centres of Excellence (CoE) in five Nigerian Universities.

While congratulating the finalists for their hard work and dedication, he expressed excitement with the increase in the level of participation in the Essay Contest from undergraduates in various tertiary institutions across the country.

In his remarks, the General Manager, Corporate Communication and Zonal Coordination, NCDMB, Dr. Ginah O. Ginah mentioned that the competition is one of the Board’s interventions to improve the standard of education in Nigeria. He added that it aims to promote proficiency in writing, increase the participants’ awareness of local content and engender citizen engagement from undergraduate level.

Ginah who was represented by the Manager, Corporate Communication, Barr. Naboth Onyesoh Onyesoh stated that the contest is also intended to promote analytical and critical thinking among Nigerian youth which is vital for enrich problem-solving and for effective citizen engagement.

“Enlightened citizenry is required for local content advocacy and to nudge public institutions to be more accountable, transparent and alive to quality service delivery, hence this competition is oriented to encourage reading and writing, promote analytical and critical thinking among Nigerian youth,” he added.

The chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor, Federal Medical University, Prof Ebitimitula Etebu, represented by the Registrar, Dr Akpos Adesi, pointed out that national competitions such as this helps to foster national unification and boost academic excellence. He applauded the Board for sponsoring the competition and sought for its sustainability.

Mr. Abasiekeme Edet, the winner of the competition thanked the Board for organizing the competition, which provided a challenge for students to research extensively and proffer solutions around the issues of local content.

Modular refinery to begin operation in 2020

The 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery being developed by Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical Company Limited with equity investment from the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) would be completed in May 2020.

This date was confirmed by the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote and the Director of Finance and Personnel Management, Mr. Isaac Yalah inspected the project site on Monday at Ibigwe, Imo State, in company of the Chairman of Waltersmith, Mr. Abdulrasaq Isah and the Executive Vice-Chairman, Mr. Danjuma Sale.

The progress completion of the project stands at 65 per cent, seven percent ahead of the original schedule. The engineering and procurement components had also been completed, with construction at 60 per cent.

Giving his assessment after taking a tour of the site, Wabote described the project as investment channelled in the right direction. He hailed the contractors-Lambert Electromac and Zerock for their remarkable pace of execution, dedication and expertise, noting that they continued with the project despite the onset of the rainy season.

He also expressed delight with the high number of Nigerians working on various aspects of the project, stating that it underscores President Mohammed Buhari’s commitment to create employment for young Nigerians from the activities of the oil and gas industry. “I hope similar projects would come on stream pretty soon to generate employment for Nigerians.“

In line with the requirements of the succession plan requirements of the Nigerian Content Act, Wabote charged the contractors to train and absorb more Nigerians in senior management positions and make them permanent members of their companies, even after the project phase.

Wabote also noted that the Ibigwe modular refinery was the first of such projects to be undertaken by the NCDMB and Watersmith and hinted that the Board had sanctioned another modular refinery project to be developed at Calabar, Cross River State.

In his comments, the Chairman of Waltersmith thanked the Executive Secretary for the visit and affirmed that the company was satisfied with the quality of work from the contractors. He also noted that Waltersmith had been steadfast on its obligations to the firms. “We expect you to remain consistent with us as well. But we are very happy with what we have seen and we are looking forward to commissioning and beginning to sell diesel and kerosene from this site in May 2020.”

The Project Manager of Lambert Electromac, Mr. Mohamad Chit stated that all outstanding construction at the site were above the ground and being fast tracked. He stated that the installation stage is expected to take four weeks when it begins in October 2019.

Chit also said the modular refinery project begun on a good footing with the host community and had continued to enjoy conviviality from the local population.

The Board and Waltersmith signed the equity investment agreement in June 2018. Wabote had explained at the ceremony that the investment decision was in line with the Board’s vision ‘to be the catalyst for the industrialization of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.’

He added that the Board was also keen to support the Federal Government’s policy on modular refineries and meet the key objectives of the Petroleum Industry’s Seven Big Wins launched by President Mohammed Buhari in October 2016 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Program (EGRP).

Kachikwu to x-ray oil and gas investment opportunities at NCDMB forum

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu has been confirmed as lead discussant on the available and emerging investment opportunities in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry, at the forthcoming Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF).

Kachikwu is to play a lead role in the discussions at the forum on the values of stake holder’s investment in the oil and gas industry, according to a Leadership report.

The Minster’s participation was confirmed by the executive secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote. The event is scheduled to hold on April 4-5 2019, at the new headquarters of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

One of the major roles of the NCDMB is to establish, maintain and operate the Joint Qualification System (NOGICJQS), in conjunction with industry stake holders

Wabote also disclosed that the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru and chief executives of the international operating companies are also expected at the event themed “Maximizing Investments into the Nigerian oil and gas”.

Wabote added that “it is important for the investors and other stakeholders to have a line of sight to projects opportunities in the funnel so they can position themselves for the desired growth.’’

According to him, NOGOF forum is  to share information about available opportunities to investors who had established fabrication yards, engineering houses, pipe mills, pipe coating yards, cable manufacturing and other facilities since the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act in 2010.