BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
The Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited has intensified plans to raise the capacity of its processing plant from the present 5,000 to 40,000 barrels daily.
President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr. Abdulrasaq Isa stated this during a facility tour of the refinery in Ibigwe, Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
Isa said that as part of its expansion plan, the refinery would produce two million tonnes of petroleum products per annum.
He noted that the refinery has so far supplied a total of 600 million litres of petroleum products into the Nigerian market since its commissioning in 2020.
Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri commended Waltersmith Group and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for supporting the Federal Government’s agenda of improving domestic refining capacity.
He said: “The quickest way to fix our energy challenge in the country should be through modular refineries, while we await the total rehabilitation of the big refineries.
“The 5,000 barrels per day production by Waltersmith Petroman, which has been a stable source of diesel, kerosene, naphta and high fuel oil to the domestic market since its commissioning in 2020, was for him a proof of how beneficial such smaller processing plants could be.”
He commended their efforts in commencing local refining of crude oil, just as he enjoined companies who were issued licenses for modular refineries and marginal field licenses to make deliberate investments.
Lokpobiri praised the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for taking up equity in Waltersmith Refinery, which facilitated the speedy completion of the modular refinery.
The minister said: “If you have a marginal field, an allocation, it is a paper given to you, it doesn’t add value to you or to Nigeria, unless you take it to the next level by making the requisite investment and then adding the value that is expected.
“What I am seeing is that out of the numerous marginal fields that were allocated, only Waltersmith and a few of them have been successfully driven.”
Lokpobiri threatened to revoke the licenses issued to marginal oil fields without the requisite investments.
Explaining the rationale behind such action, he said: “It is important that we make this point so that we can retrieve some of those fields and reallocate such assets to those prepared to develop and exploit them to the benefit of the industry and the nation.”
He stated that President Bola Tinubu has approved a fresh round of bidding, assuring that marginal fields would be issued to serious investors willing to operate modular refineries.
Lokpobiri assured that the Federal Government would support the growth of Waltersmith, just as he praised NCDMB for providing equity that facilitated the take-off and operations of the refinery.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote said that the decision of the board to participate as equity holder in Waltersmith was informed by the impressive organisational arrangement within the company.
He noted that NCDMB was never skeptical in partnering with Waltersmith given the clear corporate governance that existed within the company.
Wabote noted that part of its mandate is to enhance development as catalysts for the industrialisation of Nigeria, adding that NCDMB is proud to be associated with Waltersmith.
BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja