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‘Nigeria should fabricate, not import modular refinery units’

‘Nigeria should fabricate, not import modular refinery units’

Nigeria should be fabricating and not importing modular refinery units, Babajide Soyode, a petroleum engineer, has said.

Soyode, who is now a consultant with Dangote Industries Limited, advising on the refinery project, stated his position in Port Harcourt on the sidelines of the 6th International Mid-Downstream Oil & Gas Conference.

He warned that importing the modular refinery components makes a mess of the modular system of refining but that fabricating them will gradually hand the technology of the refining industry to Nigeria.

In his keynote at the annual conference, the veteran engineer said that Nigeria must move quickly in local production and consume Nigerian goods, except for vested interests who gain by importation.

He said facilities exist to fabricate plates and other components in the modular refining industry to be backed by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) based in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, which he said has enough funds and structure to develop a fabrication village for the essential components.

Soyode said a list of components in each sector can be made and the fabrication centres be given the task to work on them, and that before two years, modular refineries would be everywhere.

In his presentation, Philip Mshelbila, the CEO of the NLNG, who was represented by Ekon Itah, head of the asset unit, talked about Nigerianisation scheme of the gas giant, dwelling on ‘optimal asset integrity and management’.

Read also: Dangote Refinery to start crude refining October  SP Global

The NLNG disclosed that it has achieved 100 percent Nigerianisation of management staff and 90 percent overall workforce.

“We maintain good relationship with host communities, we have business principles, especially on safety, integrity, teamwork, respect, excellence, and caring for the workers. We live by these principles and they apply to all transactions.

“We promote a culture of free ideas, not one where ideas can come only from the boss. We have an asset management division that ensures that every task has someone to hold accountable for it. Get each problem to a unit for accountability and responsibility.”

Giving an insight into the production activities of the NLNG in the face of low gas supply, the representative said they now produce from only four trains.

“We now run four trains instead of six, and Train 7 is ongoing, maybe some three years of work ahead. We now optimise. The joint venture partners are, however, meeting and brainstorming in search of solutions because we can’t fold our hands. They are exploring other sources.”

On energy transition, he said ‘Decarbonisation Team’ is working on this. “We try the option of carbon credit (to do things that gain credit for the carbon we create) just as we work toward ‘zero carbon by the year 2040’. There is big hope ahead.”

Ibrahim Muritala, the project manager, Chemical & Energy Process Engineering Consultant, Afridat Research & Innovation GmbH, Duisburg, Germany, speaking on ‘Decarbonising energy-intensive industrial sectors: advances in the hydrogen economy and opportunities’, said Nigeria was not much into carbon production and carbon reduction activities but it was important to learn from other nations.

He said that it was imperative to begin to ask what Nigeria is doing now that the world is moving to green energy.

Read also: Troops destroy illegal refinery in Delta

Warning that the greenhouse effect is real, he said Africa has less emission activity but must learn how to promote alternative energy sources to reduce carbon dioxide (C02).

“It is a gradual transition and solar energy is a big source. The hydrocarbon economy so far leads to power supply, transportation, etc. Africa has huge resources in hydrogen energy, and alternative energy sources. Other continents want hydrogen but it is not enough.”

He said that Nigeria must join the hunt for hydrogen energy. “Africa is a huge source. By 2030, Africa will be a big example of a hydrogen energy centre: Angola, Morocco, Mauritius, Namibia, Algeria, Egypt, and South Africa.

“Other continents are integrating into petrochemicals. Demand for hydrogen continues to increase. There are technologies for it already in Nigeria to produce H2, create jobs.”

Other intellectuals in the oil and gas production process industry urged Nigerians to be local in thinking to satisfy Nigeria’s energy needs.

Manish Mundra, managing director, Indorama Nigeria, represented by Jossy Nkwocha, of the corporate affairs unit, reminded participants of the 11 years of solidarity of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited with the Uniport Oil and Gas Institute and the international conference series.

About “11 years ago, Indorama Petrochemicals Limited promised an expansion programme when this forum started. We have continued to accomplish this.”

Read also: Petrol from NNPC revamped refinery to go off-spec in 2 years

He said Indorama group has put Nigeria on the world map through production and even export of products and that now, Indorama has promised more: $8bn worth of investment coming; NNPCL/Indorama deal for gas worth $18Bn.”

Nkwocha told the audience about the business character of Indorama, saying it was about action, not just talk, about expanding activities. “Students from the Uniport Gas Institute do industrial training in Indorama and they are good.”