Owerri — The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday performed the ground breaking of a 5,000 barrel per day (bpd) capacity modular refinery at Ibegwe Flow Station in Ohaji Local Council of Imo State to boost local content and enhance production of petroleum products.
According to him, the facility is to commence production in 18 months and would supply crude to dedicated storage tanks.
At the event graced by captains of industry, including senators Mohammed Dagash and Florence Ita-Giwa, Kachikwu expressed concerns over the future of the nation's oil sector, disclosing that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was committed to resuscitating the four refineries.
The oil installation, he noted, was to create employment opportunities for the youths and end militancy in the Niger Delta.
Commending the Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company for identifying with the vision of the government, the minister said the modular refineries nationwide were designed to reduce importation of petroleum products.
Its chairman/chief executive officer, Abdulrazaq Isa, described the event as remarkable, stating that the feat had signalled the entry of the firm into the downstream petroleum sector, which according to him, was part of its vision to becoming a fully integrated energy company determined to contribute meaningfully to Nigeria's energy security and sustainable programme.
He disclosed that the refinery was the first phase of a larger development, adding that plans were underway to increase its capacity by 30,000bpd to process additional products, including petrol (PMS) and jet fuel.
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, expressed joy that 10 per cent of local content would be provided by the facility.
Also yesterday, the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt said it had uncovered an illegal oil depot, in Rivers State and impounded 16 trucks.