Nigerian Delta state to build its own refinery

May 24, 2002 02:00 AM

The Nigerian Delta State Government is to construct its own refinery to tap the benefits accruing from the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry. Deputy Governor Benjamin Elue disclosed in Warri while receiving national executive officers of the junior oil workers' union, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
Chief Elue hinted that modalities for the refinery's construction were also being worked on by the government. According to him, government is practically interested in the investment of the down-stream sector, adding "as soon as our plans are conclusive we would take advantage of that." He however, allayed fears that the state plans to seize the oil, but only wanted to be an active participant in the sector.
"We still believe very much in the corporate existence of this country as one strong and united one," Chief Elue emphasised. The deputy governor said the fact that "we want to be part of the big industry does not mean we want to break upthe country." He appealed to oil companies who relocated from Warri because of the spate of ethnic crises and youth restiveness that had engulfed the oil city to come back.

Chief Elue assured the companies that government would ensure that peace reigns in Warri and its environs. He said government had invested so much in maintaining peace in the area, adding that "every week, we are trying to find how we can maintain peace between oil companies and oil-bearing communities."
He charged NUPEG officials to prevail on their members to maintain peace in their areas of operation. He particularly appealed to tanker drivers, who he said park along the roads and cause danger to pedestrians and other road users. Chief Elue said government does not expect that after spending so much money to construct a befitting parking space, the tanker drivers would shun the facility.
NUPENG President-General Mr. Peter Akpakason, commended moves to build a refinery. This, he said, would provide employment for Nigerians particularly in the state, and also lead to "a lot of money that would be used to boost the economic strength of the state." Meanwhile, the government has granted preliminary licences to 18 private companies to build refineries, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Petroleum and Energy announced in Abuja.
The companies were shortlisted out of 31 applications received for preliminary licences to establish the refineries, Mr. Sam Dimka, Assistant Director, Press and Public Relations in the Office said. The successful companies are expected to meet other requirements within the next two years if their licences must remain valid, Mr. Dimka said.

Nigeria currently owns four refineries with combined capacity to process 445,000 bpd of crude oil. Companies that got the preliminary approval were Akwa Ibom Refining and Petrochemicals, Badagry Petroleum Refinery, Clean Waters Refinery, Ilaje Refinery and Petrochemicals, Niger-Delta Refinery and Petrochemicals, and NSP Refineries and Oil Services.
Also included are Ode-Aye Refinery, Orient Petroleum Resources, Owena Oil and Gas, Rivgas Petroleum and Energy, Sapele Petroleum, and Southland Associates. Yet others were Southwest Refineries and Petrochemicals, Starex Petroleum Refinery, The Chasewood Consortium, Tonwei Refinery, Total Support Refineries and Union Atlantic Petroleum.
He said with the release of the result, successful applicants should submit their basic design package prior to the granting of "Approval to Construct", and Licence to Operate the Plant."

Source: Daily Champion/All Africa Global Media
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