US Company Plan Modular Refinery In Nigeria’s Niger Delta. A leading United States modular refinery investor, Missouri American Energy, Moham, has set aside $200 million for the take-off of a modular refinery with 20,000 barrels per day production capacity in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, Nigeria.
President of Missouri American Energy, Mohan, Mr Henry Iwenofu, who led a delegation of the company’s top officials, including the local promoters, to Abuja, told the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that $200 million budgeted by the company for the fabrication and installation of Gbaramatu Modular Refinery, GMR, components in the United States and Nigeria was in one piece.
Another $200 million, he disclosed, was available for infrastructural development, adding: “All Missouri American Energy Mohan needed is a friendly business environment with government policies and programmes that will enable the refinery strive and achieve its desired objective.”
He was accompanied by the pioneer chairman of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, and Bolowei (Prime Minister) of Gbaramatu Kingdom, who is the promoter of Gbaramatu Modular Refinery, Chief Wellington Okirika, Investor’s Representative, Mr. Howard Wegman of Community Capital Group of Canada, Vice President and Director, Moham, Dr Chike Okechukwu and Dr. Alfred Okeke, respectively.
Kachikwu, represented by the Executive Director/Coordinator, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Refinery, Downstream and Infrastructural Development, Engineer Rabiu Suleiman, said that President Muhammadu Buhari was worried about the environmental degradation and pollution associated with the unprofessional, unscientific and unconventional methods being adopted by local refinery operators in the country, hence government’s decision to encourage the establishment of modular refineries with local refinery operators to key into the project. Others in the team were the Special Adviser to Delta State Government on Petroleum Matters, Bosin Ebikeme, notable Gbaramatu Kingdom leaders, comprising Chief Alfred Bubor, Col Sache Etoromi (retd.) and representatives of oil-bearing communities in the area.
He said that President Buhari had since given assurance that ministries and agencies would be directed to relax the bureaucratic requirements required for the establishments of such a refinery so that foreign investors like Missouri American Energy Moham and Community Capital Group of Canada could be encouraged to do business under the new dispensation.
A modular refinery is a prefabricated processing plant that has been constructed on skid-mounted surfaces with each structure containing a portion of the entire refining process plant connected together by interstitial piping to form an easily manageable process. Due to its manageability, it is better suited for the emerging economic realities and peculiarities of Nigeria.
The medium of refining crude oil in the developed countries may not always suit third world countries like Nigeria. The fundamental development differences in socio-economic infrastructure and maintenance psychology demands that a more suitable approach be adopted by countries like Nigeria, to align with their stage of societal evolution and political uniqueness.
History has shown in Nigeria that large-scale, full-service power plants are difficult to maintain and often function at the level of small-scale modular plants in spite of their size and heavy output potential.
The Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries have been almost non-functional due to a poor maintenance culture and a profound difficulty for Nigeria to sustain the industrial ethics needed for large-scale refining. Although the refineries in question have since started working at less than half of their installed capacities, a lot more needs to be done to bring the production to optimal levels as well as encourage the establishment of modular refineries to make Nigeria self-sufficient at meeting local demand.
The Federal Government had earlier announced issuance of 23 licences for modular mini refineries to increase local refining capacity, sustainable supplies and to stop importation of petroleum products into the country.