The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Waltersmith Petroleum Oil Limited have agreed to assist Equatorial Guinea to build a modular refinery so that the small country located on West Coast of Africa can process some of its crude oil and derive increased value from the hydrocarbon resources.
Oil and gas were discovered in Equatorial Guinea in 1995, and like any other oil producing country, its government has ever since been exploring ways to maximise value from the resources.
The bilateral cooperation was confirmed during the weekend after the NCDMB Executive Secretary, Simbi Wabote and Waltersmith Chairman, Mr. Abdulrazaq Isah hosted the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, at the site of the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith modular refinery being developed at Ibigwe in Imo State with 30 per cent equity investment from the NCDMB.
Commending stakeholders of the petroleum industry for the achievements recorded so far with modular refineries, the Minister stated that his country plans to replicate the initiative, so it can stop the unwholesome export of its entire crude oil and begin to add value to the resources.
He said: “We believe that with this cooperation and experience between our country and Waltersmith and the Nigerian petroleum industry, we should be able to replicate it.”
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Noting that Nigeria had vast experience in the hydrocarbons industry, Lima added that Equatorial Guinea would also understudy the commercial aspects of the modular refinery project to ensure that its planned investments would be economically viable.
He underscored the need for knowledge and experience sharing amongst African countries, particularly in the petroleum sector, stating: “There are a lot of things we can learn from brotherly countries and in this case – Nigeria. Rather than go to Europe or United States or Asia, we decided to visit our neighbour, to see what they do.”
He expressed delight that a new dawn had come in the African oil industry and nations needed to start utilising their crude oil resources more efficiently.
He continued: “We cannot continue to export our entire crude oil. We should start processing it for products and we are watching what Nigeria is doing and we want to replicate them.”
The ES described the cooperation between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea as an example of the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), which encourages African countries to trade and cooperate among themselves.
He maintained that governments and businesses in Africa need to cooperate closely and lift the continent out of its present state, rather than depending on foreign assistance and aids.
Wabote highlighted the local content benefits of the Waltersmith modular refinery, noting: “It is being built by a local company and 90 per cent of the workers are Nigerians. Most of these will be replicated to create jobs and put young people out of idleness.”
Welcoming the Minister, Isah stated that the company participated in an international tender in Equatorial Guinea and was declared the winner in one of the offshore blocks.
He thanked the Government of Equatorial Guinea for the opportunity to participate in the tender, for being properly evaluated and declared winner of the asset. He explained that “part of what we indicated to them was our capacity to plan and execute projects and we have submitted that to them”.
He assured the Minister of Waltersmith’s commitment to invest in Equatorial Guinea and support the development of the hydrocarbons industry, adding: “We see a lot of opportunities and similarities about our two countries and we are going to share our experiences, capacity, technology and knowledge base that we have as Nigerians who have operated in this industry in the last 50 years.”
He announced that the initial target was to deliver the Ibigwe Modular Refinery project in two years, but it is now on track to be completed in 18 months.
“By May 2020, we are going to inaugurate the refinery and we will also do the ground breaking of the second phase of the refinery, which will take us to a total capacity of 30,000 barrels of oil per day,” he said.
Source: The Nation