The project execution phase of the $600 million of the 5,000 barrels per day Ikwe-Onna Modular Refinery has commenced in Akwa Ibom State.
The Ikwe-Onna refinery incorporated in 2016 in Onna local government area of Akwa Ibom State is expected to start production in 2019 -2020.
At a stakeholders and project kick-off meeting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the federal government admitted that the only way to deal with the proliferation of illegal artisanal mining in the Niger Delta is by the private-sector led establishment of modular refineries.
Vice president, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, who stated this, said such move would ease government coming in to fast track the bureaucratic processes around the issuance of approvals and licenses.
Osibanjo represented by his senior special assistant to the president on economic matters, said he was elated to note that, having completed all the licensing processes and required approvals, everything was now set for the commencement of the actual construction of the 5,000 barrels per day Ikwe-Onna modular refinery.
He noted with satisfaction that the project was being implemented in line with the federal government’s new vision for the Niger Delta, a comprehensive blueprint developed to ensure that the people of the region benefit from the wealth of their land.
“Today, we are here to see first-hand the progress that has been made on yet another modular refinery project. The first two modular refinery development projects taking place under the New Vision for the Niger Delta are currently nearing completion in Delta and Rivers States respectively.
“They are the Opac modular refinery and Niger Delta Exploration and Production. We also have the Welter Smith Modular Refinery,”he stated.
He said the stakeholders’ event was an opportunity to deepen the engagement between the government and the private sector and a platform that would enable participants to frankly express views and proffer suggestions that would result in more positive outcomes for the region.
“The federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari is a listening government, and we have clearly demonstrated that over the last three years. It is in further demonstration of that, that I am here today to listen and to take useful feedback which will be seriously considered for incorporation into our policymaking process,” he further stated.
He commended the investors and promoters of the Ikwe-Onna Refinery on their willingness to partner with the federal government in the development of the Niger Delta, saying “This is an investment that will no doubt create jobs and make a positive difference in the lives of the people of this area.”
The vice president lauded the host community for their support so far to ensure the project succeed , urging them to show continuous commitment and cooperation for its completion as the project belong to them.
Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, said the initiative of establishing modular refinery was to eliminate the need for petroleum products importation and its pressure on foreign exchange earnings.
Represented by the director of oil services in the ministry, Engr. Busari Kamoru, the minister added that the modular refinery would create a robust domestic refining sector necessary to meet and exceed the full capacity of national demand.
Besides, he explained that establishing the modular refinery would address the proliferation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta and the environmental degradation among other reasons.
In his highlights on modular refineries, the managing director of the Ikwe-Onna refinery, Engr. Daminabo Ogaji , said Nigeria being one of the highest producers of petroleum products in terms of crude requires a lot of refining capacity.
He regretted that almost every petroleum products was imported saying less than 10 per-cent of what was produced was being refined in the country with 90 per cent exported.
He said what really attracted the establishment of the refinery in Akwa Ibom was the fact that Akwa Ibom is the most peaceful state among the oil producing states in the Niger Delta region.