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12, 000 barrels/day Azikel Refinery to commence operations in 2018

By The Citizen

The hope for the nation's self-sufficiency in refining capacity further brightened yesterday with the announcement by Azikel Refinery that it would begin operations in 2018.

The firm, which is one of the 22 companies recently granted refining licence by President Muhammadu Buhari, is located in Bayelsa State and has a refining capacity of 12, 000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Dr. Eruani Azibapu , Group President of Azikel Group, owners of Azikel Petroleum Nig Ltd and Azikel Refinery, made this known in the United States after signing a construction agreement with representatives of Ventech Enginering LLC,  a World leader in Modular Refinery  construction based in Houston, Texas.

The contract is for the manufacturing and construction of a 12,000 barrels per day (BPSD) Hydro-skyming Refinery. Dr Eruani , alongside Director of Investment and strategy, Mr Richard Howarth and the  Executive Director Operations Mr Presley Asemota, signed on behalf of Azikel Petroleum

Nig Ltd while Mr Ian Anderson, the President/CEO of Ventech led the team that signed on behalf of  Ventech  Engineering .

Others in his team include the Vice President Scott McClary, the General Counsel

Laura Hotard and the Busines Development Manager Mr Brian Swientonioski .

The event was witness by executives of international Banks, Export Credit Agencies, US Businessmen and organizations as well as the Nigerian Community and friends of Azikel Group in the United States.

Also present was Mr.  Dada, a US based Nigerian, who had brokered international funding of billions of US dollars for businesses in Africa.

The funding of the refinery was secured from Exim Bank, Export Credit Agencies and EPC Project Finance funding.

Speaking after the ceremony, Eruani stated that Azikel Refinery was among the recently-licensed 22 private refineries by President Muhammad Buhari in 2015, in line with the Buhari Administration's goal

of adding value to the Nigerian crude oil,  improving self-sufficiency in refined product and creating employment for Nigerians.

Confirming that Azikel Refinery would begin operation in 2018, Eruani stressed that Azikel Refinery has demonstrated a strong zeal and focus in the completion of the refinery by moving from the first stage licensing(LTE)to the second Stage licensing of Approval to Construct(ATC), one of the only  four firms, out of the licensed 22 to attain that stage.

Others are are Amakpe International Refinery, Resources Petroleum & Petrochemicals and Hi Rev Oil Limited.

He said further: 'Obtaining the ATC licensing is a demonstration of seriousness and commitment to the establishment of the Refinery.

Azikel Refinery is still in the lead of the four other companies, having completed land clearing/de-stumping of 50 Hectares of land for the refinery, completed a reclamation/ sand-filling campaign which lasted for over ten months.

'At the operational site of Azikel Refinery, construction of Crude Oil feed stock tanks and refined products tanks have reached a 55% completion.

The Execution now of the ISBL Unit, which is the main Modular Hydro-Skimming Refinery from Ventech, will keep the project in tight schedule for operations in the 2018.'

He noted that Azikel Refinery is situated adjacent the Gbarain-Ubi Gas Gathering Facility in Bayelsa State, in Obunagha-Gbarain, Bayelsa State, adding that the proximity of the Azikel Refinery to the feed

stock from Shell has given it a very clear advantage to early start and completion as to meeting the planned commencement of operations in 2018.

Also speaking at the contract signing ceremony in Houston, the President of Ventech Ian Anderson, emphasized that Ventech’s usual high degree of professionalism would be deployed in the construction of the Azikel Refinery, with the objective of ensuring that the specifications of the products from the Azikel Refinery meet international standards. 'Azikel Refinery will produce high value variants of LPG, Petrol, Kerosene, Avaition Fuel, Diesel and Heavy Fuel Oil,' he said.