The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical Company Ltd., will assist Equatorial Guinea to develop modular refineries in the Central African nation.
A statement signed by Mr Obinna Ezeobi, Supervisor, Corporate Communications, NCDMB in Lagos on Sunday said this would enable the country process some of its crude oil and derive increased value from the hydrocarbon resources.
Ezeobi said the bi-lateral cooperation was confirmed on Saturday after the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote and Chairman Waltersmith, Mr Abdulrazaq Isah hosted the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea, Mr Gabriel Lima.
He said the hosting took place at the 5,000 barrels a day Waltersmith’s Modular Refinery being developed at Ibigwe in Imo State, with 30 per cent equity investment from the NCDMB.
In his speech, Lima commended the stakeholders of the Nigerian petroleum industry for the achievements recorded so far with modular refineries.
He said that his country was planning to replicate the initiative, so it could stop the wholesome export of its crude oil and begin to add value to the resources.
“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,” the minister said.
Noting that Nigeria had vast experience in the hydrocarbons industry, Lima said 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 among African countries, particularly in the petroleum sector.
Lima said: “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.
“A new dawn has come in the African oil industry and nations need to start utilising their crude oil resources more efficiently.
”We cannot continue to export crude oil. We should start processing our products and we are watching what Nigeria is doing and we want to replicate them.”
In his remarks, Wabote described the cooperation between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea as a perfect example of the benefits of the recently-signed Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).
He said the development would encourage more trading and cooperation among African countries.
Wabote maintained that governments and businesses in Africa needed to cooperate closely and lift the continent out of its present state, rather than depending on foreign assistance and aid.
He highlighted the local content benefits of the Waltersmith’s modular refinery, noting that “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,” he added.
On his part, Isah noted that Waltersmith 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, properly evaluated and declared winner of the asset.
Isah also assured the minister of Waltersmith’s commitment to invest in Equatorial Guinea and support the development of the hydrocarbons industry.
He said, “We see a lot of opportunities and similarities about our two countries and we are going to share our experience, capacity, technology and knowledge base that we have as Nigerians who have operated in this industry in the last 50 years.”
Isah also announced that the initial target was to deliver the Ibigwe Modular Refinery project in two years but it was now on track to be completed in 18 months.
“By May 2020, we are going to commission the refinery and we will also do the groundbreaking of the second phase of the refinery.
“This will take us to a total capacity of 30,000 barrels of oil per day,” he said.