NCDMB, Equatorial Guinea seal pact on modular refinery development
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), and a private oil firm, and Waltersmith Petroleum Oil Limited, are collaborating with Equatorial Guinea to develop modular refineries in the central African nation.
The collaboration is aimed at increasing Equatorial Guinea’s local refining capacity to process some of its crude oil and derive increased value from the hydrocarbon resources.
The bi-lateral cooperation was confirmed at the weekend after the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, and Chairman Waltersmith, Abdulrazaq Isah, hosted the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, at the 5,000 barrels/day Waltersmith modular refinery being developed at Ibigwe in Imo State, with 30 per cent equity investment from NCDMB.
Commending stakeholders of the Nigerian petroleum industry for the achievements recorded so far with modular refineries, Lima said his country plans to replicate the initiative, so it can stop the wholesome export of its crude oil and begin to add value to the resource.
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.”
He underscored the need for knowledge and experience-sharing amongst African countries, particularly in the petroleum sector, saying, “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 are doing in the industry.”
He added: “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.”
On his part, 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), which encourages African countries to trade and cooperate among themselves.
He 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.
Wabote highlighted the local content benefits of the Waltersmith modular refinery, noting: “It is being built by a local company, and 90 percent of the workers are Nigerians. Most of these will be replicated to create jobs and put young people out of idleness.”
Welcoming the guests, Isah informed that Waltersmith Petroleum had participated in an international tender in Equatorial Guinea, and was declared the winner in one of the offshore blocks.
Isah thanked the Government of Equatorial Guinea for the opportunity to participate in the tender, be properly evaluated and declared winner of the asset, adding his firm had already submitted plans to the Guinean authorities to execute some projects.
He also assured Lima of Waltersmith’s commitment to invest in Equatorial Guinea and support the development of its hydrocarbons industry.
He added: “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.”
He also 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.
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