• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Russian firm to build 7,000bpd refinery in Calabar

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A Russian firm, Safinet Group, has expressed its desire to establish a 7,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity refinery in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, with a provision to increase production to between 60,000 to 65, 000 barrels a day.

Chairman of Safinet, Arsen Mudonov disclosed this at a meeting with Governor Ben Ayade in the state capital, Calabar, recently.

Mudonov disclosed that his group decided to come to Cross River to establish the refinery because of the peace and tranquillity that the state is known for, in addition to the hospitable nature of the people.

If realised, it would be Cross River’s first oil refinery, and perhaps, the state’s valid re-launch into the crude oil business, from where it was removed in 2002 and 2012 by two uncanny court judgements – the International Court of Justice at the Hague, Switzerland, in October 2002, which gave the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Republic of Cameroon – and the Nigerian Supreme, Court, in August 2012, which gave out 76 oil wells belonging to Cross River to its neighbouring Akwa Ibom State.

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade
Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade

The Safinet group’s chairman said his company is into construction, oil and gas, with advanced technology in the construction of oil and gas equipment and machineries.

He said the company has been expanding its operations to different parts of the world including Africa in the last five years.

The Safinet Group chairman said his company wants to take advantage of the conducive and peaceful environment of Cross River, and Calabar in particular, to establish the refinery of 7,000 barrels production capacity a day which will be increased to 65,000 barrels a day in the near future.

However, it is yet uncertain when the new oil refinery would come on stream in the state.

Responding, Governor of Cross River, Ben Ayade said his administration has turned the state into an investors’ haven by creating a conducive atmosphere for investments.

Governor Ayade reiterated that the peaceful and hospitable nature of the state and its citizens were recently attested to by the outgoing United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Erntwhistle, who picked the state as his most favourite place in Nigeria.

Ayade informed the delegation that Cross River State was always the first port of call and choice for investors; and that the state is on the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean in the south, which makes it a good candidate for oil and gas business.

 “If you are putting a refinery and your sources of shipping in the crude is by barges, then the refinery being located by the waterside becomes easy. Even if you want a solid land location, we also have solid earth where you can have access to bring in your crude by barges and then have pipelines to take the crude to your refinery,” said Ayade.

He informed that Cross River was close to so many oil wells, so building a refinery there was like eating one’s cake and still having it; adding that the state has good roads, and is building a super highway, a deep seaport at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean.

Again, the governor said, Cross River was closer to Russia than any other place in Nigeria, in terms of seaport.

In his earlier remarks, the leader of the delegation and chief executive officer (CEO) of Hkzain Corporation Limited, Muhammad Attahiru said they were in the state to present technological innovation in the area of oil and gas that would provide job opportunities to the people in line with the vision and policy thrust of Governor Ben Ayade’s administration.

He assured that Safinet group has the experience, capability and the expertise in the areas of construction, oil and gas; and that they have established in North Africa and South Sudan; and that they want the government of Cross River to give them the opportunity to establish their presence in the state; and assured that they will not disappoint the state.