6th July, 2010
The journey to the building of the nationâ€™s first new refinery in over 20 years in Lagos took an assuring leap on Monday as a high powered delegation of the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation and the China State Engineering Construction Company paid a visit to Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN).
Led by the Group Executive Director, Engineering and Technology Directorate of the NNPC, Mr Billy Agha, the delegation comprising other top officials of the Corporation and the Chinese firm was in Lagos to finalise the discussions which started two years ago in respect of the Stateâ€™s participation in the Refinery and Hydrocarbon Industrial Park as a co-investor.
Speaking during the meeting at Lagos House, Ikeja, Governor Fashola noted that the idea of Private Public Partnership in the development and operation of a refinery is most welcome and expressed the optimism that it would help put behind the perennial shortages of by- products of natural resources which Nigeria is so richly blessed in.
Said he: â€œThis is coming at a most opportuned time that would enable us increase the utilization of the capacity of the private sector to help deliver service more efficiently to the peopleâ€.
While affirming that the project is consistent with the objective for setting up the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Governor Fashola added that there is still a lot of work to be done to reach the desired destination.
He expressed the readiness of the State to work with the NNPC and the Chinese on the project, adding that there must however be a clear project plan in place which would also specify the details of the agreement, the terms and the precise obligations of all the contracting parties.
Governor Fashola asked the team to jointly visit the Lekki Free Trade Zone along with officials of the State Government to see where it has earmarked as the Oil and Gas Zone and get a feel of the environment and topography before actual construction commences.
He explained that Lagos with a population of 18million represents a very profitable market which will be beneficial to all the participants in the proposed refinery venture.
He however charged the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure that environmental issues are put in the front burner as it concretizes efforts to build the hydro carbon refinery in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in collaboration with the State Government and the Chinese investors.
Governor Fashola added that as the world is moving towards a greener world, there is a need to ensure that when fully built, the refinery must remain sustainable.
Speaking earlier, the Group Executive Director, Engineering and Technology of the NNPC, Mr Billy Agha had said the team was in Lagos to finalize the discussions which started two years ago in respect of the Stateâ€™s participation in the Refinery and Hydrocarbon Industrial Park project as a co-investor.
He added that when it is completed it would be the first new refinery to be built in Nigeria in over 20 years as well as the first that would be integrated with an Indusrial Hydrocarbon Park designed to convert natural gas and refined petroleum products into hydrocarbon derivatives.
He added that as a co-investor, Lagos State would benefit from the 5000 job opportunities for construction workers and an estimated 2000 workers that would run the Industrial complex.
Mr Agha explained that the residents of Lagos State shall also benefit from the lowest prices for all products which shall be available at the refinery gate, in addition to the production of about 500,000 metric tons of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) per annum that can trigger the formal switch of domestic household fuel from firewood, charcoal and kerosene to LPG.
Also speaking, the Vice President, Overseas operation of the China State Construction Engineering Company Ltd, Mr Yu Zhende who led the Chinese delegation thanked the Governor for the opportunity he gave to the team to see him.
He explained that CSCEC is a quoted company on the Asian Stock Exchange ready to engage in local employment as well as local development of the host community when it eventually commences work on the refinery.
The event was witnessed by members of the State Executive Council including Special Adviser on Commerce and Industry, Mrs Sola Oworu, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Supo Sasore (SAN) among other top government officials.