The United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) has provided $797,343 initial funding for the take-off of Eko Petrochemical and Refining Company Limited.
USTDA representatives led by its acting Director, Thomas R. Hardy and the owners of the $250million Eko Petrochemical and Refining, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited led by its Chairman, Capt. Emmanual Ihenacho, signed the grant during a brief ceremony at the site of the project in Tomaro Industrial Park and Free Trade Zone, Lagos at the weekend.
The USTDA delegates and the management of Integrated Oil and Gas Limited described the event as a milestone as the project had been on the planning table for two years.
According to the agency, the grant is for a feasibility study supporting technologies and development of an implementation plan for a modular refinery on Tomaro Island in Lagos.
It said Eko Petrochem and Refining Company selected Texas-based VFuels, LLC to advance the 20,000 barrels per day modular refinery. The modular refinery will promote infrastructure development by increasing Nigeria’s local refining capacity.
Hardy said: “We are proud to support this new project, which will lead to infrastructure development and economic growth in Nigeria. This project represents an excellent opportunity for U.S. businesses to export technologies and services in support of Nigeria’s refining goals”
Ihenacho said: “Regarding the USTDA cash award, it would be recalled that Genesis Shipping Limited and Integrated Oil and Gas (IOG) Group had in an initiative designed to steer the country away from the wasteful historical practice whereby the country exclusively sold its crude oil exports on an Free on Board (FOB) basis and procured its refined products for domestic consumption on a Course, Insurance and Freight (CIF) basis, put forward a proposal for the private sector development of a 20,000 bpd refinery on Tomaro Island.
“In making proposal, it was reasoned that the localisation of refining capacity if realised, would facilitate the conservation of scarce foreign exchange (forex) whilst generating major export earnings. There would also be enhanced economic value added opportunities to be realised in terms of jobs, profits and technology transfers, which would become manifest.
“The U.S. government through the USTDA has accelerated the process of the planned economic investments through the industrial development grant, in the sum of $797,343, which it has seen fit to bestow on us. The grant is to be specifically used to finance the completion of the detailed analysis of supporting technologies and engineering for the implementation of the 20,000bpd crude oil refinery.
“The USTDA award is unique because it is first of its kind, first external money coming into the project, and coming from the American government provides critical validation for our business efforts and direction.”
Also the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, through its agency – Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), confirmed the status of Tomaro Island as Tomaro Industrial Park and Free Trade Zone.
The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who was represented by Rabiu Suleiman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), assured the company of Federal Government’s support including imports facilitation, among others, to make the refinery operational at the stipulated time. But he advised the management of Eko Petrochem and Refining to always carry along the community, make them see the project as theirs so that they can protect it.
The US. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. William Stuart Symington, who was in attendance, also pledged to give necessary assistance not just to the company but the nation’s economic growth.
Source: The Nation