By Onome Amuge
The proposed 200,000 barrels per day BUA refining and petrochemical plant in Akwa Ibom is on course towards full commercial operation in 2024, barring any unforeseen developments in the local and international economy.
Abdul Samad Rabiu, founder and executive chairman of the leading foods and infrastructure conglomerates made the disclosure while defending the sustainability of BUA’s investment in the various sectors of the economy.
Rabiu further stressed that the refinery project will meet the government’s economic diversification agenda in the long run, as new fuel standards continue to evolve in line with the climate crisis.
He explained that the project was initiated against the backdrop of the huge amount of foreign exchange the nation spends importing refined petroleum products into the country.
He also assured that the project is being constructed with the best of technology from Axens of France, rated as one of the best in the world in the petroleum refining industry. This, he said, would enable the nation to save huge amounts of foreign exchange in addition to creating thousands of jobs for the citizens.
“Nigeria consumes over 50 million liters of fuel daily and over 90 of that is imported with about 35 percent of the country’s scarce foreign currency spent on imported products. This, coupled with low crude prices due to low demand arising from the coronavirus pandemic offers us huge opportunity to invest in projects that would help us conserve more funds, leveraging the low cost technology being deployed by Axens of France, offering us far lower cost than what it should be,” he stated.
Highlighting the economic benefits of the refinery, Rabiu said the refinery’s complete marine infrastructure and nearness to its feedstock will enable it to save more on haulage, as it targets local, regional and other land -locked markets in Africa, fuelled by its unique location and opportunities emerging from the AfCFTA.
In September, 2020, a contract for the construction of the refinery was signed in France between Abdul Rabiu and Jean Sentenac, CEO of Axens, in a ceremony presided over by Franck Riester, France’s minister delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness.
When fully operational, the refinery is expected to produce high-quality petrol, diesel, as well as jet fuel that meets international standards for the Nigerian and international market, reducing Nigeria’s dependence on imported fuels and petrochemicals.
Rabiu also stated that the refinery will produce propylene, an essential component for the petrochemical industry which is used in the production of polypropylene-based plastics and packaging.