DPR’s Director, Sarki Auwalu, disclosed this during a pre-commissioning visit to the project site located in Ibigwe, Imo State.
Auwalu said the purpose of the visit was to make sure that the Waltersmith Refinery was ready to start operations.
He was quoted in a statement issued on Wednesday by Waltersmith as saying, “We can confirm that the refinery is very much ready to commence operations. We have seen all the preparations.
“To us, the plant is alive. The commissioning is just symbolic. Everywhere is ready to start off. My overall assessment is excellent.
“We have been to other modular refineries but we have not seen anything like this – the space, the way it is arranged and the way it will work.”
The DPR director said operators and Nigerians should start seeing the agency as an enabler and not purely as a regulator.
He said the focus of the DPR was on how to create opportunities that would ensure that Nigeria’s vast oil and gas resources were managed for the betterment of Nigerians.
Auwalu said, “The role we play is to enable businesses and create opportunities. When DPR issues you a licence, it enables you to invest and as a result of that opportunity we create, that business is enabled.
“Waltersmith is one of our success stories. We consider the project as ours. We have been tracking their growth and we are happy to see that our child is growing. It is our plan that they expand and they have the potential.”
The 5,000bpd modular refinery, scheduled for official inauguration this month, has a crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and is projected to deliver over 271 million litres per year of refined petroleum products.
The other petroleum products include diesel, kerosene, naphtha and heavy fuel oils to the domestic market.
The bulk of the crude supply for this phase will come from Waltersmith’s upstream business with backup from nearby third-party crude.
The Chairman, Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, Abdulrasaq Isah, said the 5,000bpd plant was the first phase of a series of refinery development which would culminate in the delivery of up to 50,000bpd refining capacity.
Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company obtained License to Establish from DPR in June 2015 and obtained authority to construct in March 2017.
The company partnered the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, who are 30 per cent equity holders, while the Africa Finance Corporation committed significant financing to the project, as Waltersmith signed an EPC contract in June 2018 with a consortium of Vfuels and Lambert Electromec.