Ike Amos & OpeOluwani Akintayo
Lagos — The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Sunday, said it is to partner with Waltersmith Petroleum Oil Limited to assist Equatorial Guinea in developing modular refineries in the central African nation.
This was even as a Waltersmith Petroleum said it had won the rights for an offshore oil block in Equatorial Guinea.
In a statement by the NCDMB in Abuja, the local content regulator stated that the building of modular refineries in Equatorial Guinea would enable the country process some of its crude oil and derive increased value from the hydrocarbon resources.
The bi-lateral cooperation was confirmed weekend, after the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote and Chairman Waltersmith, Mr. Abdulrazaq Isah hosted the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea, His Excellency Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima at the 5,000 barrels a day Waltersmith modular refinery being developed at Ibigwe in Imo State, with 30 percent equity investment from the NCDMB.
Speaking on the development, Wabote described the cooperation between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea as a perfect example of the benefits of the recently signed Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), which encourages African countries to trade and cooperate among themselves.
He insisted that governments and businesses in Africa needed to cooperate closely and lift the continent out of its present state, rather than depending on foreign assistance and aid. .Welcoming the Minister, Chairman Waltersmith Petroleum Oil Limited, Mr. Abdulrazaq Isah, stated that his company participated in an international tender in Equatorial Guinea and was declared the winner in one of the offshore blocks.
Isah thanked the Government of Equatorial Guinea for the opportunity afforded Waltersmith to participate in the tender, be properly evaluated and declared winner of the asset, while he assured the Minister of Waltersmith’s commitment to invest in Equatorial Guinea and support the development of the hydrocarbons industry.
He said, “Part of what we indicated to them was our capacity to plan and execute projects and we have submitted that to them. We see a lot of opportunities and similarities about our two countries and we are going to share our experience, capacity, technology and knowledge base that we have as Nigerians who have operated in this industry in the last 50 years.”
Speaking in the same vein, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea, His Excellency Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, stated that his country plans to replicate the Nigerian modular refinery initiative, so that it can stop the wholesome export of its crude oil and begin to add value to the resources.
He underscored the need for knowledge and experience sharing amongst African countries, particularly in the petroleum sector and also expressed delight that a new dawn had come in the African oil industry where nations needed to start utilizing their crude oil resources more efficiently.
He said, “We cannot continue to export crude oil. We should start processing our products and we are watching what Nigeria is doing and we want to replicate them.
“There are a lot of things we can learn from brotherly countries and in this case, Nigeria. Rather than go to Europe or United States or Asia, we decided to visit our neighbour, to see what they do. We believe that with this cooperation and experience between our country and Waltersmith and the Nigerian petroleum industry, we should be able to replicate it.”
He commended stakeholders in the Nigerian petroleum industry for the achievements recorded so far with modular refineries, noting that Nigeria had vast experience in the hydrocarbons industry.
Lima added that Equatorial Guinea would also understudy the commercial aspects of the modular refinery project to ensure that its planned investments would be economically viable.