Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
- Targets Euro-V fuels, PPL
- Signs agreement with France’s Axens
BUA Group, the Nigerian manufacturing and foods conglomerate, is entering the country’s and West African crude oil refining and petrochemical playbook with the announcement of plans to build a 200,000 barrels per day plant in Akwa Ibom State.
The multi-billion-dollar integrated refinery and petrochemicals plant aims at producing Euro-V fuels and polypropylene for the domestic and regional market, the BUA Group, developer of the plant, says.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy by gross domestic product and the continent’s most populous country with an estimated 200 million people, continues to grapple with the importation of petroleum products six decades after it gained independence and despite being one of the world’s top 10 crude oil producers. It spends billions of dollars on fuel importation and an opaque subsidy regime means it loses trillions of naira yearly in dubious circumstances.
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The entrance of BUA Group may help provide some respite as the government continues to grapple with and fail in solving its refining capacity problems with four refineries costing billions of naira to maintain yearly but producing nothing.
But Abdul Samad Rabiu, BUA Group chairman, and Jean Sentenac, the chief executive officer of Axens of France, signed a landmark agreement at a ceremony presided over by France’s minister delegate for foreign trade and economic attractiveness, Franck Riester in Paris, France.
BUA Group, one of Africa’s leading foods, mining, and infrastructure conglomerate signed the agreement with Axens of France for the supply of process technologies for the upcoming 10 million tonnes per annum mega-refinery and petrochemicals plant.
According to BUA, Axens was selected after a comprehensive process due to its advanced technology licenses, basic engineering, catalysts and adsorbents, proprietary equipment, training and technical services.
“This 10 million tonnes per annum refinery and petrochemicals project is in line with BUA’s vision to develop local capacity in key industries where we can add most value; and where raw materials can be sourced locally. Once completed, this RFCC-based complex will produce high-quality gasoline, diesel, jet fuel meeting Euro-V specifications for the Nigerian market, and the larger region. In addition, it will produce propylene, an essential component for the petrochemical industry used in polypropylene-based plastics and packaging. This project will help in reducing Nigeria’s dependence on imported fuels and petrochemicals,” BUA Group chairman and CEO Abdul Samad Rabiu said.
According to him, it is in the DNA of BUA Group to create efficient, innovative and sustainable businesses; adding that their cement plants were the most sustainable in Nigeria, same with their sugar plants.
Axens’ chairman and CEO, Jean Sentenac said the company was delighted to be part of the strategic project, providing the most advanced technologies on the market that are energy-efficient and ensure the production of high-quality fuels and petrochemical intermediates.
Sentemac said the state-of-the-art integrated complex will allow BUA Group to develop its refining and petrochemical capabilities in Nigeria; and produce highly valuable products for the domestic market. He said it was a great pleasure and a pride to partner with BUA Group to concur to develop the Nigerian economy, and ensure the success of the project.