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NDEP moves to begin local refining of aviation fuel to end capital flight

Documentations and necessary logistics are nearing completion in the plans of the Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc, to expand capacity and begin refining of aviation fuel locally.

According to the Managing Director, Dr. Layi Fatona, at the Nigerian Academy of Engineering’s public lecture in Lagos, the company planned to expand its refinery located in Ogbele, Ahoada East Local Government of Rivers State, with an additional 10,000 barrels of crude per day of processing capacity.

He said “The products that will be refined at the refinery, which currently has a capacity for 1,000bpd, include aviation fuel, marine diesel, Dual Purpose Kerosene, Premium Motor Spirit, Liquefied Petroleum Gas and diesel”.

“In our thrust to address the persistent shortage, steady growth in local demand of petroleum products and the company’s own refinery growth strategy, we took the strategic decision to expand the Ogbele Refinery’s capacity tenfold, with an additional 10,000bpd of processing capacity and increased product mix,” he said.

Statistics rolled by the company showed that Nigeria was consuming over 400 million litres of aviation fuel yearly, and was in 2016 the second largest importer of aviation fuel in the world.

Fatona argued that with the investment and policy direction, the country could become self-sufficient in petroleum products by investing in more modular or mini refineries to bridge the gap created by lack of mega refineries.

He averred that “Modular or mini refineries can take Nigeria out of import-dependency and if well run, they have the capacity to be a potential solution to oil bunkering”.

Besides, the ECOWAS Regional Advisor, African Refiners Association (ASF), Mr. Tony Ogbuigwe, said in order to address some of the problems in the oil and gas sector, the government should fully deregulate the downstream sub-sector, address the pricing of products, and engage engineers in developing a blueprint.

Ogbuigwe, a seasoned expert in the nation’s oil and gas sector for decades said “The government must enunciate a clear policy promoting private sector involvement in commercial exploitation of opportunities. Equity shareholding structure can be considered where the government wishes to participate”.