Key Issues

Oil communities key into modular refinery project

Communities in the Niger Delta region are indicating interest in working with the federal government and the private sector to develop the Modular Refinery concept as President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Vision for the region begins to take effect.

This is one of the highlights of the inter-ministerial meeting on the Niger Delta presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo where it was agreed that modular refineries are the panacea to illegal refineries in the region.

Under the plan, communities would come together working with their respective state governments, the federal government and the private sector operators to work out a template for the establishment of modular refineries in the communities.

Professor Osinbajo said at the inter-ministerial meeting that government was working towards “creating opportunities and the environment where the people in the communities can benefit.”

It was the second of such meeting in the past few weeks aimed at working out how best to establish the modular refineries.

At the meeting attended by the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barrister Kingsley Otuoro; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uhuru; Petroleum Resources Minister of State, Dr Ibe Kachikwu; Environment Minister of State; Mallam Ibrahim Usman Jibril, other issues including developments on the planning for the Maritime University, update on contractors in the Niger Delta region returning to site and Amnesty issues among others were also discussed.

The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere; the DG of NIMASA, Mr Dakuku Peterside; and the head of the Amnesty Office, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), were also in attendance.

Already, the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State, have indicated interest in the establishment of modular refinery.

Under the aegis of the Gbaramatu Oil and Gas Producing Trust Fund and working in a 60/40 percent partnership with the Missouri American Energy of the United States, a delegation of the group met with Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa on Thursday to inform him of the decision to build modular refineries.

At the meeting, the vice president noted that the modular refineries to be established would have to be profitable and realistic in order to address critical issues bothering on the development of the region on a sustainable basis.

He added that the Federal Government was committed to addressing challenges in the Niger Delta in a comprehensive manner.

“There are several things that we are working on now on the modular refineries and what government’s own participation is all about,” the vice president said, adding that government was “also trying to work out a template for implementing this decision on modular refineries.”

He said the modular refineries would be structured in a way to make them work for business and durable.

He restated the President Buhari administration’s commitment to ensuring that issues concerning the Niger Delta were dealt with according to new vision for the region.

“It is a long term commitment that is why we are looking at projects that will benefit the people of the region and the country at large,” he added.

The Vice President commended the Gbaramatu community for taking the initiative to support government’s actualisation of a plan for the region, stating that “it should be one of the models of what we will be doing in the future.”

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Chief Wellington Okrika, said the community was committed to the actualisation of the 20, 000 barrels per day, Gbaramatu Modular Refinery project which he noted would bring about lasting peace and stability in the region.

Okirika, who spoke to State House Correspondents after the meeting, said “the Gbaramatu Kingdom has adopted the option of the modular refinery as the only viable solution to the illegal refineries prevalent in the Niger-Delta communities.”

He said the group was in the process of securing and paying for the license to establish the modular having fulfilled all the requirements.

“In view of the pronouncements of the Presidency on the modular refineries and the determination of the Presidency to partner oil and gas producing communities, we wish to seek the support of the Presidency in some aspects of the establishment of the modular refinery,” Okirika said.

Okirika, who is also the Prime Minister of the Gbaramatu Kingdom, said the establishment of the modular refinery in the area would “create jobs as well as solve degradation problems in the region”.

Peace Restoration

Dr. Okirika said the interactive visits of Vice President Osinbajo brought peace in the Niger Delta region and expressed gratitude to the federal government for the visits.

He said the vice-president’s visit to the “Gbaramatu Kingdom in continuation of the search for peace and development of the oil producing communities” has engineered “the desired peace and confidence building in the region.”

Also speaking, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Missouri America Energy, Henry Iwenofu, said their visit to Osinbajo afforded them the opportunity to ascertain the political will and readiness of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to establish modular refineries.

“We are interested in this economic development of the Delta and the policy for the federal government and we appreciate the opportunity to invest in the area. But there certain thing we needed to see to be sure. We saw it today, which is the dedication of the vice president; that the government is ready and willing to assist in any business that is transparent which will make the communities benefit from the oil,” Iwenofu said.

He said the establishment of the modular refineries would have multiplier effect on the socio-economic development of not only Gbaramatu Kingdom but also in the Niger Delta Region.

Source: Voice of Nigeria