New modular refinery, plant to boost Nigeria’s energy capacity

The nation is set to add at least 5,000 barrels of oil per day and 300MW to its energy capacity with the entrance of Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company’s 5,000 barrels of oil per day modular refinery situated at the Ibigwe Field in OPL 2004.According to the firm, the investment will shape Nigeria’s petroleum products supply and make the midstream cum downstream components of the industry more robust.

This move, according to the chairman/chief executive officer of Waltersmith, Abdulrazaq Isa, is part of “our vision to become a fully integrated energy company contributing meaningfully to Nigeria’s energy security and sustainability.” As it transforms into an integrated energy company, Waltersmith is also developing a 300 megawatts gas-fired power plant for which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has granted a power generation license in 2017. The plant will be situated in the same energy industrial complex as the refinery and the flowstation in the Ibigwe field.


The power plant, Isa explained, would utilise processed gas from Waltersmith’s Ibigwe marginal field and from third parties operating gas fields that are within proximity to the Ibigwe field, of which the power generated will be supplied to the national grid and is expected to contribute towards bridging the power supply gap in the country and create both direct and indirect jobs during the construction and operational phases.

About 118,000 households and 27,000 commercial/industrial users are expected to be powered through this project.Speaking on the refinery, the Waltersmith bioss said: “This is also a significant milestone for indigenous participation in the Nigeria downstream refinery sector. The 5,000bopd refinery was conceptualized in 2011 to mitigate the frequent outage of the third-party export Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) and to optimize the full value of our produced crude through in-country refining and providing the petroleum products for the domestic market.


“Consequently, we would enjoy uninterrupted crude oil production from our upstream business all year round simply because we would have created alternative evacuation outlet and usage for the volumes.“By so doing, Waltersmith would be in a position to contribute about 271 million liters of refined products (diesel, kerosene, High pour Fuel Oil and Naphta) annually to the Nigerian economy, serve as an import substitution for meeting domestic demand for petroleum products, create both direct and indirect employment as well as reduce the demand for foreign exchange from the country’s treasury to import these products.”

Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited was established as an indigenous exploration and Production company in 1996 and was awarded the Ibigwe field located in OML 16 (now OPL 2004) in 2003 after participating in the marginal field licensing round specifically designed for indigenous companies.


The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu, who performed the groundbreaking of the refinery in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area, Imo State, explained that the Federal Government’s policy on modular refineries is an integral part of the 14-point agenda for reducing militancy in the Niger Delta region.The plan according to him is to set up modular refineries in oil producing communities and use them to create jobs and absorb the militants. 


“We would take some of the good skills sets they have, polish them and put them into the system,” he said.He informed that 10 of the 38 licensed modular refineries had made appreciable progress in the development of their projects and the first one is expected to deliver products between December 2018/January 2019, adding that: “From modular refineries, we will be able to process about 200,000 barrels of crude and put them into the system.”

He said the Federal Government was engender the establishment of modular refineries through the financing model being managed by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, and had also granted free custom duty charges and other waivers to enable the investors bring in their equipment.

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