Africa’s largest petrochemicals facility, Indorama/Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited (Indorama/EPCL) located in Rivers State, Nigeria, has begun preparations in earnest for the establishment of a whopping $1.8billion (approximately N275billion) methanol, fertilizer and low density polyethylene (LDPE) plants at Eleme.
As part of this strategy, the company has commenced the clearing of the sites for the plants, ahead of the foundation stone laying by President Goodluck Jonathan within the precinct of the existing petrochemicals facility.
Briefing bureau chiefs during the first-ever official national media tour of the once-moribund petrochemicals complex at its corporate headquarters in Eleme, last Friday, Managing Director of the company, Mr Manish Mundra, said the fertilizer plant would gulp $1billion while the methanol facility would consume $700million, just as the LDPE project would cost $100million.
Manish noted that the fertilizer, methanol and LDPE facilities, which would have annual nameplate capacities of 1.332 million metric tonnes, 1.165 million metric tonnes, and 0.120 million metric tonnes, respectively, would pumped to both domestic and international markets to generate much-needed revenue for the company’s shareholders and the country.
According to Mundra, while 100 per cent of the LDPE products would go the domestic market, 50 per cent apiece of the fertilizer produced would be sold to the domestic and international markets, just as 90 per cent of the methanol products would be shipped to international buyers in the United States, Europe, Asia and intra-African nations.
The managing director listed the benefits of the facilities to include employment generation of more than 1,000 new direct and indirect jobs for the teeming but jobless youths, creation of new window for foreign exchange earnings, promotion of the diversification of the nation’s economy, production of critical goods and raw materials as well as creation of alternative energy sources, and the enabling of thousands of new business frontiers to boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP).
Specifically, he pointed out that the methanol would provide alternative fuel for vehicles with combustion engines, including cars and trucks while also energising power plants’ lines control, security radio control, and management of free flight airplanes, in addition to the production of resins, glues, plastics, plywood, paints, explosives, and permanent press textiles.
Mundra said the methanol products would also be used for acetic acid chemical applications, and such other uses as traditional denaturant for ethanol, highlighting solvents, antifreeze addictives in pipelines and windshields washer fluids as some of the derivatives of methanol.
On the fertilizer facility, the Indorama boss stated that the fertilizer to be produced from the plant would help boost the nation’s quest to drastically increase its agricultural yields, sufficiently contribute to the country’s desire to feed its citizens, as well as strategically advance Nigeria’s dream for national food security.
With the three plants up and running after two successful turn around maintenance (TAM), Mundra stressed that Indorama/EPCL would have added a new impetus to the nation’s push to reduce gas flaring in the Niger Delta region, and thus, contribute to efforts to drive down global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, which ultimately exacerbate climate change.
The Tide gathered that the first TAM in 2006 had gulped more than $130million, with the second TAM in 2010 costing far less.
Although both TAMs had resulted in production and sales losses, their successful completion has ensured optimum operational efficiency and sound safety profile for the continent’s largest petrochemicals facility in Nigeria.
BUA Group, A’Ibom Sign MoU For Refinery’s Access Road
Bua Group has signed a memorandum of understanding, (MoU), with Akwa Ibom State Government, and the host communities in Ibeno Local Government Area, for the construction of access road to the proposed Bua Refinery and Petrochemical plant site in Ibeno, last week.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, Dr. John Etim, who presided over the signing of the MoU, applauded BUA for their commitment to the project, prompt documentation and the preparation of the site towards the construction of the refinery.
Etim said that the refinery project will bridge the gap between host communities and Akwa Ibom State, thereby bringing about more developments in the oil and gas sector of the State.
The Commissioner called on all parties concerned to be committed to the terms of agreement and to ensure that peace dominates their relationship, while appealing to the host communities to protect the facilities which is now in their custody
“The refinery and petrochemical project is in line with the Governor’s vision to industrialise the State, develop local capacity in key industries where value can be added and raw materials sourced locally.”
Speaking shortly after the MoU signing, the Chairman of Ibeno local government, Williams Mkpa, expressed delight over the development, describing it as a giant stride in the industrialisation vision of the Akwa Ibom State Government.
The paramount ruler of the area, Owong Effiong Archianga, assured the company of his people’s unalloyed support and cooperation to see to the actualisation of the project.
CSO Urges Oil Communities To Challenge PIA In Court
A Civil Society Organisation, Policy Alert, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, urging communities to test the provisions of the Act before the courts.
President Buhari had signed the erstwhile Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law last Monday amidst protests from community groups and many other stakeholders that the Bill do not adequately cover the rights and interests of the host communities.
In a statement signed by its Communications and Stakeholders Engagement Officer, Mrs. Nneka Luke-Ndumere, Policy Alert, which is working for economic and ecological justice, described the presidential assent to the PIB as “grossly insensitive and problematic.
“It is sad that the bill has been assented to in the most controversial manner despite its many obvious flaws and its rejection by many stakeholders,” the statement read.
It added: “For example, the controversial provision for a direct payment of 30 percent profit oil and profit gas to the Frontier Exploration Fund potentially shortchanges the oil producing states and local governments of some of its thirteen percent derivation as it bypasses the requirement in section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which provides that all revenues be channeled through the federation account.
“This is most unfair, viewed against the ceding of only three percent of previous years’ operating expenses to the Host Communities Development Trust Fund and the punitive provision to charge costs of any damage to facilities against the community’s Fund, among other obnoxious provisions.
“That Mr. President has gone ahead to give assent to these vexing provisions only reinforces the politics of exclusion and expropriation that has for long characterised the relationship between the Nigerian state and the oil producing communities.
“We are also concerned that the host communities’ component of the legislation flies in the face of one of its stated objectives to address tensions between host communities and companies as it has all the ingredients for escalating rather than abating such conflicts.
“At a time when fossil fuel investments are being deprioritised elsewhere as a result of the global energy transition, it is unfortunate that this Act failed to provide a bridge between the current era of fossil fuel dependency and the low-carbon energy future that Nigeria aspires to within the framework of government’s much vaunted commitments under the Paris Agreement.”
The statement also said: “Granted, the new legal framework introduces some predictability and clarity to the governance and fiscal arrangements in the oil and gas industry. We are also not oblivious to certain clauses that respond to some of our earlier demands, such as those providing that the Board of Trustees of the Host Communities Development Trust will now be determined in consultation with the host communities, with membership drawn from community members. But that is just as far as it goes.
“As a tool for improved benefit sharing to host communities, the Act falls flat on its face. It actually ridicules the exertions of the host communities and advocacy groups that have clamoured over the years for a law that yields some space for participation, direct socio-economic benefits and environmental remediation for oil-rich communities.
“The theatre of action will now have to move to the communities and the courts of law. As implementation of the Act gets underway over the next 12 months, we urge host communities and civil society groups to begin to seek interpretation of some of its more controversial provisions before the courts.”
Kyari Tasks Greenfield Refinery On Fuel Importation
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has charged members of the Board of the NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited (NGRL), to explore all available options to bring an end to the current challenge of petroleum products importation.
Mallam Kyari gave the charge Thursday while inaugurating the Board of the newly incorporated subsidiary of the Corporation, NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited (NGRL), at the NNPC Towers, Abuja.
The NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited is a subsidiary of the Corporation set up in December 2020 with a mandate to oversee the establishment and operation of new refineries.
The GMD, who is also the Chairman of the NGRL Board, challenged members of the Board to focus on profitability in order to remain afloat and avoid liquidation.
“As a business, this is a big opportunity for us and this company’s balance sheet must change positively. Going forward, with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), I can tell you that if you continue to post negative for three years, you are out. So, there is really no excuse”, Mallam Kyari stated.
He urged the Board and Management Team of the new company to set up a proper structure with the required skills, technology and financing to drive the company’s operations, adding that he was optimistic that the company would be able to achieve its mandate.
“Our company must grow and we can’t do well except we are able to process our production whether it is the liquid or gas. If we don’t monetise it then we have done nothing. This is really a new chapter and we are committed to making it work,” he said.
The NNPC helmsman stated that all the Corporation’s initiatives in the areas of new refineries, condensate refineries and equity acquisition in credible private refineries were geared towards ensuring energy security for the country.
In his remarks, the Alternate Chairman of the Board and Group Executive Director, Refinery and Petrochemicals, Engr. Mustapha Yakubu, declared that the operations of the company would be guided by the principles of cost effectiveness in line with the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), noting that profitability would be the key focus.
Speaking in similar vein, the Group General Manager, Greenfield Refineries and Project Division (GRPD) and Managing Director of the NGRL, Engr. Bege Talson, disclosed that the Division was working with third party investors to establish greenfield, modular and condensate refineries with a combined capacity of 250,000barrels per stream day (bpsd).
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