By Yunus Yusuf
Lagos – Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, Chairman, Eko Petrochemicals and Refining Company Ltd, on Thursday said that the detailed analysis of supporting technologies and engineering works at its $250 million (about N90 billion) refinery has commenced.
Iheanacho told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the 20,000bpd crude oil refinery project site at the Tomaro Industrial Park and Free Trade Zone in Lagos was designed to boost refining capacity in the country.
He said that the United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) had provided $797,343 as initial funding for the take-off of the Refinery project for its detailed engineering design.
According to him, the grant is for feasibility studies, supporting technologies and development of an implementation plan for a modular refinery on Tomaro Island in Lagos.
“The Eko Petrochemicals and Refining Company selected Texas-based VFuels, LLC to advance the 20,000 barrels per day modular refinery.
“The modular refinery will promote infrastructure development by increasing Nigeria’s local refining capacity.
“The USTDA was proud to support this new project, which will lead to infrastructure development and enhance economic growth in Nigeria.
“This project represents an excellent opportunity for U.S. businesses to export technologies and services in support of Nigeria’s refining goals,’’ he said.
Iheanacho, also the chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd, appealed to the Federal Government to come up with a policy framework that will compel financial institutions to make funds available to indigenous players that intend to build modular refineries.
Ihenacho urged the government to provide the enabling environment for the integrated oil and gas company to achieve its ongoing 20,000 barrels modular refinery target.
The Integrated oil boss said that despite granting licenses to potential investors, several factors have hindered the actual take off of many of such projects.
He lamented that paucity of funds has become a major hindrance to the take off of such projects.
“Local banks are not willing to fund such projects as they express fears about local capacity to manage such projects.
“We have proved to posses the technical competence and engineering capabilities, yet finance is a major problem here.
“We can now start exporting refined products than we are currently importing. Government should make provision for financing because it is a key requirement to do 20,000 barrels per day,” he addded.