Nigerian independent Waltersmith Petroman has raised $50Million, the entire funds required for the building of a 5,000BOPD refinery at its Ibigwe field in eastern Niger Delta. It is awaiting the approval of the Nigerian minister of Petroleum Resources to start construction.
“It has become imperative for us to do it”, says Abdurazaq Isa, the company’s executive chairman. “If you aggregate the losses we have suffered from vandalism of the Trans Niger Pipeline (the crude export line) since we started production in June 2008, it comes to over one year of production”, Isa explains. “Last year alone, we lost 120 days of production”.
Waltersmith produces 4,300BOPD at full throttle, but average monthly production in January, February and March 2014 have been between 3,500-3,800BOPD, largely because of deferments. Waltersmith has a Flowstation capacity of 15,000BOPD on the Ibigwe field. It hopes to source crude from nearby fields to feed the topping plant.
“We may not make as much money from the plant as we do in exporting the crude, but we won’t run at a loss”, Isa, a former banker, insists. “Imagine producing diesel and kerosene from our plant and distributing them around (eastern Nigerian cities of) Port Harcourt, Aba and Owerri?”, Isa asks. “We’d run better figures than anyone importing and landing and paying charges and coming from Lagos”. Isa restates the fact that the proposed 400,000BOPD refinery by the Dangote group “cannot meet the country’s domestic demand of petroleum products”.
Isa also sees the project in terms of social investment. Beneficiation of natural resources is a “legacy that we indigenous companies should leave”, he says. “In Britain, refineries contribute $3.87Billion to the local economy. It’s our duty to make that sort of contribution to our own economy. We will not lose money”