Investors, Ogun government hold talks over oil refinery project

...First phase to cost $3bn, create 10,000 jobs

A group of investors, led by Lukman Bolaji, chairman of Gasoline Integrated International, has begun talks with the Ogun State Government over the location and construction of a refinery on oil-rich Tongeji Island in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state.

The 400,000-litre-per-day refinery project is designed to be constructed in phases on the already acquired 800 hectares of land on Tongeji Island in Ipokia, with the first phase of 100,000-litre-per-day refining plant expected to cost $3 billion and would be delivered in three years.

Speaking during a meeting with Governor Dapo Abiodun and some members of the Ogun State Executive Council in Abeokuta on Wednesday, Bolaji said the firm had acquired an oil block on Tongeji Island, using Chinese technology and combining expertise from Nigeria, Taiwan and the United States of America.

“We are bringing in a capital inflow of $3 billion into the state. We would have been on site by now but for the COVID-19 pandemic. With this project, Ogun State will have security and guarantee of petroleum products at all times because we intend to serve our immediate environment before taking it outside” he said.

He disclosed that the company would generate 110 megawatts of electricity, starting with 37MW.

He said about 10,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created, adding that the project would boost internally generated revenue of the state, expand the infrastructural facilities and transfer technology to Nigerians.

Also speaking, the newly-crowned Oluwo of Owu, Oba Saka Matemilola, an oil and gas expert, said the company was in the state to prospect for oil and build refinery for petroleum products, adding that the project would help the state to be an oil-producing one in the nearest future.

Responding, the governor said that Ogun and Lagos states consume about 70 percent of petroleum products in Nigeria.

He said the project is coming after the state lost a similar project, Olokola Deep Seaport Refinery, handled by Aliko Dangote, now Dangote Refinery, Lekki, to a neighbouring state.

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Abiodun said his administration had created investment hubs across the zones to promote business activities, while agencies have also been created for seamless relationships between the state government and investors to promote ease of doing business in the state.

He said the project is in tandem with the Public Private Partnership policy of his administration to promote individual prosperity, describing it as a welcome development.

He described Ogun West as an important zone that has contributed largely to the state, being an industrial hub of the country, saying his government remains determined to promote industrialisation of the area by paying attention to it in line with its economic agenda.

Abiodun said a team would be set up to liaise with the company for further discussions, adding: “Project like this is not a walk in the park.”

“I want to assure you that as an administration whose thrust is encouraging investors, a team to work with your team to deal with issues that may arise will be set up. It will be our joy for Ogun State to be an oil producing state. Tongeji is important to us. We are working to ensure that something happens on that Island,” he said.