NCDMB’s implementation of Content Act promoting domestic refining – Wabote

Wabote said the technical operations data showed that the number of registered industry operators grew from 53 in 2018 to 114 in 2023, representing about a 100 percent increase.

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NCDMB's implementation of Content Act promoting domestic refining - Wabote
Engr. Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, NCDMB

Engr. Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Board (NCDMB) has  said the painstaking implementation of the Nigerian Content Act has encouraged and promoted more local modular refineries to increase domestic refining.

Wabote explained that Waltersmith Modular Refinery, supported by the NCDMB in 2023, is boosting domestic refining as it has so far produced and sold over 170 million litres of petroleum products, amounting to about 3,000 trucks of petroleum products that would have been hitherto imported with scarce forex.

During the 12th Practical Nigerian Content Forum in Yenagoa on Tuesday, Wabote disclosed that site works for the expansion of the refinery to 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity had started in September to further expand in-country refining.

BRANDPOWER reports that the 12th edition of the Practical Nigerian Contest Forum has as its theme: Deepening Nigerian Content Amidst Divestments, Domestication and Decarbonisation.

It draws Stakeholders from oil and gas industry to discuss the progress of the local content in the country.

Wabote said the technical operations data showed that the number of registered industry operators grew from 53 in 2018 to 114 in 2023, representing about a 100 per cent increase.

He said within the same period, service companies increased from 8,000 to 11,000 while individual registrations increased from 140,000 to almost 400,000.

“Regarding our Commercial Ventures portfolio, we partnered with Waltersmith to establish a 5,000 bpd modular refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State.

This year alone, the refinery has produced and sold over 170 million liters or about 3,000 trucks of petroleum products that would have been hitherto imported using our scarce forex.

“I am pleased to note that site works for the expansion of the refinery to 10,000 bpd refinery commenced in September 2023.

“The three other modular refineries are being progressed to completion and start-up.

“For example, the financials, we are close to get the remaining funding for Azikel Refinery. It is nearing completion with the great support from Afreximbank,” Wabote said.

Still on promoting domestc refining, Wabote explained that  Dupont Refinery in Edo State was essentially completed, as the NCDMB was looking at the various options and offers to bring closure to the partnership in line with the board’s investment policy.

He said that in 2017, NCDMB launched its 10-year Strategic Roadmap aimed at increasing Nigerian Content in the oil and gas industry to 70 per cent by the year 2027.

Wabote recalled that NCDMB had rolled out five pillars and four enablers to drive the focus areas under the roadmap, each supported with short, medium and long-term initiatives.

He expressed delight that the journey had been transformational from where NCDMB started to the current point.

“We have completed 83 per cent of the 96 initiatives under the strategic roadmap, with focus now shifting to the remaining initiatives that require some heavy lifting to bring into fruition.

“With the support of the industry, our sponsors, principals, advocates, staff, contractors, host communities and even critics, the transformational impact of the delivery of these initiatives has been of resounding success.

“Under this pillar, we have transformed two of our portfolio of NOGAPS sites from bare land to industrial parks to support in-country manufacturing and assembly of equipment and input materials required for exploration and production activities.

“While these two NOGAPS sites are essentially ready for commissioning, we are keen to operationalise it by having manufacturing activities in place which is scheduled for first half of next year.

“Under the strategic roadmap, we set up a dedicated $50 million fund to co-finance industry research and development activities,” he said.

Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, said the establishment of NCDMB brought a lot of positive changes in the oil and gas industry and will ultimately lift the fortunes of the industry including boosting domestic refining to save precious foreign reserves.

Speaking through the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Amb. Gabriel Aduda, Lokpobiri said that Nigeria was committed to foster local content.

On his part, Gov. Douye Diri, commended the NCDMB for the developmental strides since it was created in 2010 to regulate oil firms, amongst others.

Diri was represented by Chief Gideon Ekeowe, Secretary to Bayelsa Government.

He said that Bayelsa and the country at large had benefited a lot in terms of human capital development, empowerment of individuals and communities.