Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical Ltd. has officially commissioned the first phase of its currently planned 50,000-b/d modular refinery at Ibigwe oil field, in the Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area, Imo State, Nigeria.
The first 5,000-b/d phase of the refinery reached official startup on Nov. 24 in a ceremony virtually attended by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ceremony also included official groundbreaking on the project’s next 45,000-b/d phase that will include construction of a 25,000-b/d modular refinery to be followed by another 20,000-b/d phase to bring Waltersmith’s total refining capacity at the site to 50,000 b/d, according to a release by the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), which holds a 30percent interest in the project.
The additional 20,000-b/d phase increases overall nameplate capacity of Waltersmith’s originally proposed project, which was to include only a 30,000-b/d refinery at Ibigwe.
This first 5,000-b/d phase of the refinery will process about 1.8 million bbl crude and condensate annually to produce 271 million l./year of refined products (including diesel, naphtha, high-pour fuel oil, and kerosine), and once fully expanded, lift crude and condensate processing to more than 16 million bbl/year, according to Simbi Kesiye Wabote, NCDMB’s executive secretary.
The new refinery initially will process Nigerian crude from 7,000-b/d Ibigwe onshore field in eastern Niger Delta, also operated by Waltersmith.
In addressing ceremony attendees, Buhari reiterated that the deployment of modular refineries was one of four elements of the federal government’s refinery roadmap, introduced in 2018, to help meet local demand for petroleum products and eliminate imports into the country.
Alongside directing the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other government agencies to provide Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical all necessary support to ensure access to crude and condensate feedstock for timely delivery of the operator’s capacity expansion plans, Buhari also assured attendees that the federal government was continuing to progress on rehabilitation of Nigeria’s refineries, as well as colocation and greenfield refinery projects, to make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products in a few years’ time.
Wabote further informed during the ceremony that the NCDMB is also partnering with other investors for construction of a 2,500-b/d modular refinery that will later be expanded to 10,000 b/d in Edo State, as well as a 12,000-b/d hydroskimming refinery in Bayelsa State that will produce a full slate of petroleum products to serve immediate and nearby markets.