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FG raises hope for more modular refineries

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The Federal Government has restated its commitment to the development and establishment of modular refineries in the country.

Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmoud, who disclosed this during the public review of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the proposed Modular Refinery at Obotebe in Burutu Local Council of Delta State, however, said that set standards must be met before approvals.

The minister, represented by a director in the ministry, Mr. Abbas Suleiman, commended Etopo Refinery Plc for the initiative and at ensuring that the mandatory EIA exercise was carried out before taking any further step for the take-off of the project, noting that the project will create employment, enhance the economic fortunes of the people, generate revenue for government at all levels as well as reduce importation of diesel and allied refined products.

According to Mahmoud, “the proposed modular refinery is a welcome development. It falls under the oil and gas sector, which has remained the mainstay of the Nigerian economy despite the Federal Government’s frantic efforts to reduce dependence on the sector and diversifying the economy to other sectors, particularly agriculture, solid minerals, and manufacturing.”

Chairman of the EIA panel, Mr. Samuel Ogunjemilusi, said health, social and environmental hazards must be considered before approval for the establishment of a modular refinery and commended Otopo Refinery Plc for keeping to global best practices in that regards.

“I must thank stakeholders for their robust participation and meaningful contributions at ensuring the smooth take-off of Etopo Refinery at Obotebe town in Delta State. This is the essence of the review of the Environmental Impact Assessment report. The project is laudable and I must tell you that from the report of the panel, there is no threat to its establishment,” Ogunjemilusi said.

Other members of the panel, including Prof. Mohammed Babagara, Miss Uvie Igini, who represented Delta State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Clement Biribai, the representative of the Chairman, Burutu Local Council, Mr. Victor Ladele and Mr. K. A, Adeniyi, said the project would create both direct and indirect employment in the locality.

The paramount ruler of Obotebe Kingdom, King Emmanuel Warewini Arikawei, said the establishment of a 30,000 tonnes barrel per day modular refinery in Obotebe, comes with enormous benefits, particularly to communities in the coastal areas of Delta State as well as generate revenues for the government.

Arikawei, while commending the EIA panel team for a hitch-free exercise, noted that the panel’s affirmation and recommendation to the establishment of Etopo refinery would spur the management to taking further steps to bring the project to fruition.

“The socio-economic benefits of the project cannot be over-emphasized and there are no doubts about its sustainability. All that is required is collaboration and support of stakeholders,” the monarch said.


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