Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Nigeria’s independent producer, has reportedly disclosed its plan to increase the output of its 5,000 barrel a day capacity mini-refinery in Ohaji/Egbema, Imo State to 30,000 barrels a day by 2022. The refinery, which is 98% completed, is expected to be commissioned in September 2020.
This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Chikezie Nwosu, on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.
“We expect that by September we should be ready to test-run the refinery, now at 98% completion. We are going to grow its capacity by an additional 25,000 barrels a day to make it 30,000 barrels,” he said.
The Back story: In December 2019, Nairametrics reported that Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited had been awarded an oil block in Equatorial Guinea’s Niger Delta basin known as Block EG-23.
Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited and Hawtai Energy Hongkong were granted a 40% participating interest each in the oil block, while Equatorial Guinea’s national oil company, GE Petrol, was granted 20%. This is according to a statement from the Equatorial Guinea Government.
Nwosu explained that the earlier plan to commission the refinery, which was built by Houston-based VFuels, in May was hampered by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The refinery, which is expected to primarily serve the South-Eastern part of the country, is expected to contribute about 271 million litres of refined products including Diesel, Naptha, HFO and Kerosene annually to the domestic market and create both direct and indirect jobs particularly within the host communities.
According to him, the crude processing plant is part of a bigger industrial energy park that will serve as a manufacturing base for oil and gas components.
“The project includes a 30-megawatt power station, which Waltersmith will expand to about 300 megawatts,” he added.
Why it matters: Nigeria has desperately tried to revive its refining industry that has languished for years.
The nation’s refineries did not refine a single barrel of crude oil in a while year, but reportedly incurred a combined operating expense of N142.07 billion, according to the latest earnings report from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The NNPC attributed the abysmal operational performance of the refineries to an ongoing revamping process aimed at further enhancing their capacity utilisation once completed.
The refineries, which are located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day but have continued to operate far below the installed capacity.
Meanwhile, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is also building a refinery with a capacity of 650,000 barrels a day that will help cut Nigeria’s $7 billion annual fuel-import bill.