President Muhammadu Buhari has explained how Nigeria will become a net exporter of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, and other petroleum products.
He believes this is achievable by the implementation of the Refinery Roadmap rolled out in 2018, saying the deployment of modular refineries is one of the four key elements of his administration.
President Buhari made the remarks on Tuesday at the virtual inauguration of the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State.
“There is increased momentum in the other three focus areas under the roadmap covering the rehabilitation of existing refineries, co-location of new refineries, and construction of greenfield refineries,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina.
The President added, “The realisation of the refinery roadmap will ultimately lead us to become a net exporter of petroleum products not only to our neighbouring countries but to the worldwide market.
“This modular refinery is the largest commissioned modular refinery in the country today.”
The event also featured the ground-breaking ceremony for the Phase-II works to expand the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels/day.
Against the backdrop of the recent increase in the pump price of petrol in Nigeria, President Buhari believes the establishment of modular refineries in the country will make petroleum products available and eliminate importation.
He was delighted that the modular refinery came on stream within two years of the commencement of the roadmap, after many years of granting licences for the establishment of modular refineries with nothing to show for it.
The President also described plans to commence the expansion of the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels per day to refine crude oil and condensates as an important part of economic reforms the country was undergoing.
“The role played by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in going into collaboration with Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company is novel in concept and superb in delivery.
“I look forward to seeing this new phase completed within the target timeframe,” he said.
President Buhari, therefore, directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), NNPC, as well as all relevant government agencies to provide the company all the necessary support to access crude oil and condensate feedstock for the timely delivery of the additional capacity.
In line with his administration’s agenda on job creation, he said he was pleased that hundreds of direct and indirect jobs were created during the construction of the first phase of the project in addition to the various business opportunities.
The President stated that the construction of the second phase of the project would create bigger additional employment opportunities.
He thanked the local community and the people of Imo State for hosting the refinery, which, he stressed, would bring prosperity and economic development to the area.
President Buhari also commended the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, as well as the chairman and members of the governing council, management, and staff of the NCDMB for making the public-private partnership a success.
He lauded the chairman, board, management, and staff of Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Limited for their professionalism and focus in getting the project completed.
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, and Mr Sylva cut the tape on behalf of the President at the event.
Others in attendance included the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, NCDMB Executive Secretary, Simbi Wabote, and Chairman of WalterSmith, Abdulrazaq Isa, among others.