The minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri has pledged his full support for the expansion plans of Waltersmith Refinery.
The minister made this pledge during his official visit to the Waltersmith Refinery located in Ibigwe, Imo State.
During the visit, Lokpobiri expressed his admiration for the progress achieved by Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, highlighting that the refinery’s role aligns with one of his key objectives of ramping up Nigeria’s refining capacity and promoting economic growth.
“The shortest way to addressing our problem of low in-country refining capacity is modular refineries and that is why I am here to see things for myself. I am very proud of what I have seen. I also want to encourage Waltersmith and pledge my full support towards their expansion plans so that we can solve the energy problem of our country”, Lokpobiri said.
The chairman of Waltersmith Group, Abdulrazaq Isa, extended his gratitude to the Minister and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote, for the visit. He emphasised the need for collaborative efforts between the private and government entities to advance the nation’s energy sector.
“We are moving from 5,000 to 10,000 barrels of crude oil a day (bpd)but our focus is on achieving 40,000bpd capacity. Already, we are engaging all necessary parties, especially the national oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd , to ensure that we have access to enough feedstock that will enable us to get to the 40,000bpd capacity. That is where we are headed and our co-investor, the NCDMB, is happy with what we are doing,” Isa said.
The executive secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, reiterated the board’s commitment to supporting projects that align with the Nigerian Content Act, fostering local capacity development, and enhancing value retention within the country adding that, ‘NCDMB investment in Waltersmith Modular Refinery has turned out to be one of its best investment decisions so far.’
The managing director/chief executive officer of Bank of Industry(BOI, Olasupo Olusi, said the bank is open and committed to supporting the expansion plans of the Waltersmith refinery.
“We want to see the scaling up of refining in Nigeria. That will help in alleviating some of the economic issues at present and for us, that is a very strategic intervention in this critical sector of our economy”, Olusi said.
Earlier in his presentation, the CEO of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr. Dapo Filani asked for the minister’s intervention whenever an opportunity to acquire or takeover a nearby asset arose.
“We are ready to take on any nearby asset under a robust commercial term either as an operator or to manage it as a way of making it feasible for us to have guaranteed feedstock for both phase one and two of our refinery project. This tallies with the government objective of having a secured supply of petroleum products in place for the local market”, Filani stated.
Spearheaded by Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, which is a strategic business unit of the Waltersmith Group, the Waltersmith Refinery and Petrochemicals Company is the largest modular refinery in Nigeria that has been commissioned. The refinery project is being developed in phases, and it has made a significant contribution to Nigeria’s refining capacity.