By Adewale Sanyaolu
THE construction of modular refineries in the Niger Delta is said to be capable of putting an end to the activities of illegal refineries while also reducing crude oil theft, the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) has assured.
The association equally said the move would address the incessant cases of shortage of petroleum products across the country. At a media interactive session in Lagos at the weekend, on the forthcoming Annual NAPE International Conference, President of NAPE, Mr. Chikwendu Edoziem, supported by the President-elect, Mr. Nosa Omorodion, and the Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Ofoma, recommended that modular and micro refineries be built in the Niger Delta economic corridor.
Edoziem explained that in since the country was interested in having big refineries that could refine as much as 750,000 barrels of crude oil per day, it was much wiser to have modular refineries as back-up to help the bigger ones when they are down or shut down for turnaround maintenance exercise.
The NAPE boss explained that situating the refineries in the Niger Delta would the best economic decision to take because the location is closer to where the raw material -crude oil – is located, rather than citing it in the North or West where the cost of pipelines to be laid would have been equal to the amount needed to build the refinery itself.
‘‘When we have modular refineries, it tends to stifle out those involved in the refining of illegal crude oil in drums because it is very risky to both lives and property and the environment. When we have this in place, we would be able to supply good quality products, which will put the illegal refiners out of business,” he said. Meanwhile, NAPE has advised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to take advantage of the abysmally low crude oil prices and increase exploration activities in the country.
Specifically, the association wants the Federal Government to encourage exploration activities in the country during the period of low crude oil prices as this has brought about a lull in exploratory activities, which has in turn brought about low activities for oil rigs and other exploration equipment.
“The costs of hiring equipment have gone down because no one is hiring those rigs and equipment due to low oil prices and the glut in the global oil sector.
“Now, we must understand that the crude oil price may not bounce back immediately, and exploratory activities are also time consuming. If we use the opportunity of low equipment prices to hire these equipment now and commence exploration activities, thereby bringing life back into the sector, it will take another four to five years to probably be ready for first oil, and by that time, it is very possible that crude oil prices would have bounced back,” he said.
Source : SunOnline