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Safety in Bayelsa State helped us attract investing expatriates— Azikel Refinery boss

Fresh insights on the key facts behind the feat of the emerging 12,000bpd refinery in Bayelsa State have been revealed by the President of Azikel Petroleum, owners of Azikel Modular Refinery, Dr. Eruani Azibapu.

In an interview, he said “It is a quite challenging project, financially demanding and requiring commitment and expertise. The Nigerian state, through the Nigerian Content Developing and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has also shown commitment and energised us in several ways by encouraging the establishment of the modular refinery project.”

He averred that “All these have shown the world that Bayelsa State and indeed the Niger Delta is safe and condusive for investment and business and helped us to attract the expatriates we have, over 21 of them, from different countries.”

Giving further details on the state of the construction activities at the site, which was flagged off by former President Olusegun Obasanjo some months ago, Dr Azibapu noted that “Overall, we have achieved over 65 per cent completion and we are hoping to start operations by the first quarter of 2021. The modules have been fabricated and we are already receiving most of our heavy equipment.

“The site that was generally swampy and unusable before now has taken the shape of skyscrapers. The administrative building is completed and most of the civil works, including roads, terminal operations building and infrastructures are completed. Once the core of the refinery, which is coming in form of modules, begins to arrive, we would start to do the installations.

According to him, “The encouragement is that for once, being the pioneer company in the modular refinery project, we are part of the changing economy and driving the new industrialisation of Bayelsa State, the Niger Delta and indeed, Nigeria.

He explained that “Our refinery is a bit specialised and sizeable, because it is a 12,000 BPD (Barrel Per Day) hydro skimming refinery built on modules mounted on skids, with the latest technology for low emission, rated a Nelson Complexity of 5.3, powered by UOP Reformer technology to produce a very high RONC Reformate, mixed with the LSR and Butane to produce PMS at a RONC of 89.

Azikel Group president said the emerging refinery is structured to maximize refining of petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and kerosene in one complex.

“Being situated in the Niger Delta, which is the hub of crude oil exploration/production, it excites us as the first private modular refinery that is nearing completion and ready to refine products at home.

On the level of progress towards the completion of the refinery, Dr. Azibapu added that “We have taken some impressive steps in the completion timeline of the refinery, because it is a project that excites us and we are very eager to see it completed on schedule and contribute to the Nigerian economy, especially to reduce the scarcity of refined petroleum products in the country through local production.”

Business Hilights the Board of the company was inaugurated at a meeting held on October 23 in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

The Board, which is made up of experienced Nigerians at home and abroad, as well as expatriates, is to give high sense of direction, managerial discipline, focus and mission accomplishment. It is to give verve to the project and see to it that all objectives and targets are accomplished.