By Sebastine Obasi
Nigeria’s refining capacity is set to receive a boost with the commissioning of Waltersmith modular refinery, Ibigwe, Ohaji/Egbema, Imo State, scheduled to take place in October 2020.
Giving an insight on the expected event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Chikezie Nwosu stated that 5,000 barrels per day, phase one of the project, which was to be commissioned in the second quarter, Q2 2020, was delayed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
He also explained that the first phase of this Refinery will deliver about 271 million liters of refined petroleum products (Diesel, Kerosene, Heavy Fuel Oil-HFO, and Naphtha) per annum.
According to Nwosu, when completed the Phase 2 will deliver about 1.4 billion liters per year of refined petroleum products (Premium Motor Spirit – PMS, Diesel, Kerosene, Aviation Jet Fuel, and HFO) in addition to the 271 million liters from the Phase 1.
Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company is a Joint venture (JV) between Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, a leading independent Nigerian Energy company with 70 per cent equity, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, a Federal Government of Nigeria parastatal with 30 per cent equity, with significant funding support from the African Finance Corporation (AFC), a pan-African Multilateral Development Financial Institution.
Waltersmith Petroman was established as an E&P Company in 1996 and successfully acquired the Ibigwe Marginal Field (OML-16) license in 2005 and delivered the first oil in 2008. On the back of this successful entry into the Nigerian oil and gas industry,
Waltersmith quickly grew production to over 7,000 bopd, built a 15,000 bopd Flowstation at Ibigwe to process crude from the Ibigwe Field and the neighboring NNPC/ SEPLAT JV Ohaji South Field in OML-53. Anticipating additional growth in production from this hub, Waltersmith is expanding this facility to handle 20,000 bopd by the end of 2020.
In addition to this operated asset, Waltersmith Petroman is part of the ND Western Consortium operating the OML-34 license in a Joint Venture with NNPC using an Asset Management Team (AMT) structure. In furtherance of Waltersmith’s strategy of domestic energy security, the company carried out a feasibility study for modular refining, in support of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s aspiration, and founded on the proximity of many producing oil, gas, and condensate fields in the Ibigwe Hub.
By 2018, Final Investment Decision (FID) had been taken and in October 2018 the groundbreaking ceremony was done, effectively kicking off the construction phase in November 2018. The first phase of this modular Refinery targeted 5,000 bopd of own operated crude as feedstock with alternative sources including the over 7,000 bopd NNPC/SEPLAT OML-53 JV Ohaji South production processed at Waltersmith’s Ibigwe Flow station.
Negotiations on Crude Sales and Purchase agreements are at an advanced stage with both SEPLAT and NNPC. With the exceptional planning and execution of this first Phase of the refinery.
Waltersmith initiated the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for the 25,000 bpd Phase 2 Condensate Refinery and the 20,000 bpd Phase 3 Oil Refinery to maximise feedstock from the nearby ANOH Gas Plant Company (AGPC) and some additional Commercial discussions were progressed on some nearby oil and gas assets, with the investments proposed by Waltersmith to develop the oil assets to be used as feedstock for the 20,000 bopd Refinery (and the gas assets for the 300MW Ugamma Gas Power Plant.
Both enormously strategic to the domestic energy security strategy of Waltersmith and aspirations of the Federal Government of Nigeria. FEED for the 25,000 bpd Phase 2 Condensate Refinery was completed in Q1 2020, a Feasibility study in Q2 2020 and the EPCIC Contracting process has been initiated with Final Investment Decision planned for Q4 2020 and delivery by Q4 2022.
Critical to the success of these projects is the Federal Government’s support, through NNPC, to conclude on advanced discussions to grant Waltersmith access to nearby Condensate feedstock in Assa North / Ohaji and to invest in developing some nearby fields, within 30-km of the Ibigwe Marginal Field, through some commercial arrangement to enable the growth of current production from less than 10,000 bopd to over 30,000 bopd.