Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu says all refineries in the country will be fully functional before the end of 2019 as the country’s current administration remains committed towards curtailing the importation of petroleum products.

Kachikwu disclosed this on Thursday in Ibigwe-Ohaji in Ohaji\Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State during the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the 5,000 Barrels Per Day (BPD) Modular Refinery by Walter Smith Petro-chemical limited.

“It would be sad if by the end of 2019 we are still importing fuel from abroad. So, we are committed to repairing the refineries. By that, we can at least process about 500,000 barrels of crude per day.

“The policy of this administration is to go back to refining about 20 per cent of our crude which will move to 50 per cent in the next five years,” Kachikwu said.

While commending the management of Walter Smith for partnering with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to realize the project, the Minister said he was hopeful that in 18 months, the modular refinery would be inaugurated.

Responding, the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Kesiye Wabote said the Board invested US $10 million to facilitate the development of the modular refinery and took 30 per cent equity in the project.

Wabote added that the NCDMB would divest when the modular refinery was fully developed and operational, pointing out that Board was promoting the Walter Smith Modular Refinery as part of its capacity development mandate, an investment he stressed, was also in line with the Nigeria Content 10- year strategic plan.

On his own part, the Chairman of Walter Smith, Abdulrazaq Isa said the 5,000 BPD Modular refinery was conceptualized in 2011 to mitigate the frequent outage of the third-party export trans-Niger pipeline.

He added that the aim of the refinery was to optimize the full value of the country’s produced crude through in-country products for the domestic market.

His words: “When operational in 18 months time, we will produce per day: Naphtha – 24,643 liters, Kerosene – 54,691 liters, Diesel – 300,168 liters, HPFO – 409,710 liters.

“The refined products will be sold and evacuated from the refinery via dedicated trucks from Bay Five truck rack where products are loaded into the tankers.”