The presidency has invited a partnership, Youth and Environment Advocacy Centre (YEAC), a Port Harcourt-based non-governmental organization with specialized expertise in environmental management in Niger Delta, to coordinate the integration of artisanal refineries operators into the mainstream refineries operation in Nigeria.
This was revealed in a letter seen by BusinessDay from the office of the Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Ita Enang, titled; “Partnership on Artisanal Refineries Operations and Environmental Management in the Niger Delta”.
The letter which arrived Port Harcourt during the week said the office of Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs has approved the partnership which is “Expected to provide the platform for the NGO to harness it’s Mission and Vision with the Programmes of activities of the Office of the SSA for sustainable environmental management and economic self-reliance.”
The invitation suggests that the government is set to restart the replication of modular refineries in the oil region to mop up illegal bunkerers and to boost local refining operations, industry watchers said.
Much seems to be expected from YEAC led by the Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, the executive director, who is expected to provide a multifaceted approach to further articulate, plan, and implement necessary strategies and programmes of activities along with other agencies and organisations for Nigeria to be self-sufficient in petroleum processing.
The renewed interest of the presidency in modular refineries especially the ones to be operated by the army of artisanal refiners in the oil region seems to counter the notion in the region that the idea had died. This is because modular refinery scheme has been on the card for almost 10 years even as the artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta had rather increased in number and intensity.
BusinessDay gathered that only YEAC may have been considered in this strategic role probably based on its pioneering work on environment management and forefront advocacy on artisanal refineries, modular refineries and for proposing the Presidential Artisanal Crude Oil Refining Development Initiative (PACORDI) which formed the basis of the Federal Government organizing the national submit for the Integration of Artisanal Refineries Operations and Modular Refineries in to the national economy. YEAC was thus invited in March 2021 and March 2022 as resource group.
Expectations are that the efforts of those summits should lead to the emergence of modular refineries in the oil region owned and operated by former artisanal refiners.
The gain would be ending illegal refining and boosting supply of locally refined petroleum products.
It was gathered that YEAC advocacy on Modular Refineries had led to the pronouncements of the Vice President in 2017 on Modular Refineries. This had led to establishment of Modular Refineries Multipurpose Cooperative Societies which were inaugurated to welcome licenses from the federal government as promised by Yemi Osibanjo in 2017.
As hope rises once again for modular refineries in the face of the indications from the presidency, YEAC, according to its leaders, is expected to bring to the table its long-standing experiences as a think-tank on organized crime of crude oil theft, artisanal refining and environmental pollution mitigation mechanisms.
It is also expected to use both its local and international networks and partners including diplomatic community partners to engage all multi stakeholders to address the issues of pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft and artisanal refining which have made it difficult for the country to transport crude oil through the Trans-Niger Delta pipeline due to massive tapping by oil thieves.
With the partnership, YEAC is believed to serve as the coordination platform to harness the potentials of Niger Delta youths and drive the process of working with the local governments, state governments, FG and its ministries, departments and agencies as well as the oil companies and international partners.