The Federal Government says it is intensifying efforts to end fuel importation through the establishment of modular refineries and massive rehabilitation of the existing ones before the end of next year.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, gave the assurance at a groundbreaking for the construction of a modular refinery at Ibigwe, Awara in Ohaji Egbema local government area of Imo state.
The modular refinery when operational will have the capacity to refine 5,000) five thousand) barrels of crude oil daily.
The Minister said government would encourage genuine investors in setting up modular refineries to end fuel importation thereby reducing pressure on foreign exchange.
Dr. Kachikwu explained that the nation’s refineries were being turned around to boost production, noting that the country would in no distant time commence exportation of refined petroleum products.
The Executive Secretary Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Mr. Simbi Wabote, said the project was in line with federal government’s initiatives to increase local content in the oil and gas sector.
He gave an assurance to the people that government would take necessary measures to ensure safe operations of the firm whose activities had the tendency to alter the ecosystem of the host communities.
The traditional ruler of Ochia, Awara in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo state, Eze Paulinus Ekwueme, expressed joy over the project and pledged the support of the host communities.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Petro-chemical firm executing the project, Mr. Abdulrazaq Isa, noted that the facility would create jobs and contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy.
The refinery is expected to commence operations in the next 18 (eighteen months).