The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has disclosed that Waltersmith Modular Refinery located in Ibigwe, Imo State, with refining capacity of 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) is ready for operations.
The Director of DPR, Engr. Sarki Auwalu, who gave this hint during a pre-commissioning visit to the project site recently, said the purpose of the visit was to make sure that Waltersmith Refinery was to finally confirm the readiness of the refinery for operations.
The refinery was officially scheduled for inauguration yesterday (October 26, 2020) but had to be put on hold due the nationwide protest.
He said: “We can confirm that the refinery is very much ready to commence operations. We have seen all the preparations. To us, the plant is alive. The commissioning is just symbolic. Everywhere is ready to start off. My overall assessment is excellent.
“We have been to other modular refineries but we have not seen anything like this: the space, the way it is arranged and the way it will work”, Auwalu added.
The DPR director spoke on the statutory responsibility of the Department in the hydrocarbon resources industry, saying that its role “is to enable businesses and create opportunities. When DPR issues you a license, it enables you to invest. It is that opportunity we create that enable businesses to grow.”
Auwalu enthused: “Waltersmith is one of our success stories. We consider the project as ours. We have been tracking their growth and we are happy to see that our child is growing. It is our plan that they expand and they have the potential.”
According to available statistical data on the project, the 5,000bpd modular refinery has a crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and is projected to yearly deliver over 271 million litres of refined petroleum products comprising of Diesel, Kerosene, Naphtha and Heavy Fuel Oils to the domestic market.
In his remarks during the inspection visit by the industry regulator, Chairman of Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, Abdulrasaq Isah, said: “What you see here is a proof of the absolute faith we have in our country. We want to demonstrate that it is practically a waste of resources to produce crude oil and just sell it. It is more impactful to add value and make more significant impact on the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of our nation.”
“This is the first phase of a series of refinery development which will culminate in the delivery of up to 50,000bpd refining capacity that will expand the product slate to include petrol, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Aviation fuel”, Isah added.
He explained that the expansion plan of the project consisted of 20,000bpd crude oil refinery and a standalone 25,000bpd condensate refinery both of which are at early stages of project development.
Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company obtained Licence to Establish from DPR in June 2015 and obtained Authority to construct in March 2017.
The company partnered with Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), which holds 30% equity in the project, while the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) also provided funding support for the project.