Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday, in China, expanded the portfolio of foreign investments in the state, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese consortium for a 5,500 barrel per day modular refinery in Edo State.
A statement on his Facebook page said that the event came hours after a similar MoU was signed with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, in Beijing, China, for the development of the Gelegele seaport in the state.
The Chinese consortium that will handle the modular refinery is made up of Peiyang Chemical Equipment Company of China (PCC), a world leading modular refinery company; Sinopec International Petroleum Service Corporation (SIPS), which is a subsidiary of Sinopec, the top Chemical giant in the world and African Infrastructure Partners (AIP), a Nigerian Infrastructural company.
The first phase of the project will be ready within twelve (12) months after all the necessary approvals are granted by the regulatory authorities.
The MoU signing ceremony for the refinery took place at SINOPEC headquarters in Beijing, China, and was witnessed by officials of the Nigerian Embassy in China, as well as staff of SIPS Nigeria, a major local fabrication company, with a branch in Benin City, the capital of Edo State.
Local content component
Speaking at the event, Obaseki, expressed his delight at the local content component of the deal, which would ensure that Edo citizens were trained in welding, refinery operation and fabrication works to enable them participate in the construction of the refinery, as well as its operation, post-commissioning.
The governor assured that the refinery construction would provide jobs for several unemployed Edo youths, including the Libya returnees, who were being evacuated from the crisis-ridden North African country.
Obaseki added that the modular refinery wiuld solve the problem of inadequate petroleum products in the country and would turn Edo State into the preferred source of petroleum products, considering its gateway status to other parts of the country.
“With the federal government of Nigeria’s commitment to support communities in the Niger Delta states to set up modular refineries, the SIPS fabrication yard in Benin City is expected to be very busy handling the fabrication jobs of modular refineries in the Niger Delta region,” Obaseki said.
He pledged that his administration would provide community support to the project, assist in securing all regulatory approvals from the appropriate regulatory authorities, such as the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
The Consortium is committed to delivering phase 1 of the project within 12 months of receiving the required regulatory approvals.
In addition, PCC has also agreed to finance the demonstration modular refinery up to 70 percent, thereby assisting in scaling the financing hurdle that has militated against the development of modular refineries in Nigeria.
The project will be executed in two phases; phase 1 consisting of 500bpd demonstration refinery and phase 2 consisting of a 5,000bpd capacity refinery. The PCC will also serve as the Operations and Management company that will manage the refinery before transferring it to the local investors.
The demonstration refinery will serve as a proof of concept and to train the indigenes in the management of the refinery.