Akwa Ibom: Exxon Mobil says begins oil spill clean-up

ExxonMobil’s said on Tuesday it was helping clean up an oil spill near its facility off the Nigeria’s southeast coast, although the company wasn’t yet sure what caused the leak.

Mobil Producing Nigeria, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), confirmed last week oil had been sighted near Ibeno in Akwa Ibom state but the source was unknown.

Local fishing communities blame Mobil for the spill, which they say has cut off their livelihood.

“Mobil … confirms it is assisting with the clean-up in cooperation with local authorities,” company spokesman Nigel Cookey-Gam said.
“The source of the hydrocarbon remains unknown as fingerprinting of collected samples is ongoing … Mobil remains committed to ensuring that the health and environment of our neighbouring communities are protected.”

Oil spills are common in Africa’s top energy producer and stretches of the Niger Delta, a fragile wetlands environment, are coated in crude. Thousands of barrels are spilled every year and lax enforcement means there are few penalties.

Oil firms say the majority of spills are due to armed oil thieves hacking into or blowing up pipelines to steal crude, an activity they estimate saps nearly a fifth of Nigeria’s output.

FG partners with American and local consortium to build six new refineries

The Federal Government, on Monday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an American and Nigerian Joint Venture Group, Vulcan Petroleum Resources Limited and Petroleum Refining and Strategic Reserve Limited, respectively, for the construction of six modular refineries with combined capacity of 180,000 barrels per day.


The project is estimated to gulp N697.5bn while two of the refineries are expected to be completed within the next 12 months.
The refineries are to be located in areas where there are crude oil pipelines in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Each modular refinery, when completed, will refine up to 30, 000 barrels of crude oil per day and produce up to five million litres of petrol, diesel kerosene and LPFO.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, signed on behalf of the Federal Government, while Vice-President/Director , Vulcan Petroleum Resources Limited, Jim Mansfield, and the Chairman, Petroleum Refining and Strategic Reserve Limited, Edozie Njoku, singed of behalf of their companies respectively.
Also present during the signing of the MoU, was the former Governor of Anambra state, Chukwuemeka Ezeife.

Speaking during signing ceremony, Mr Aganga, said the event represented a major milestone and paradigm shift in President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration plan towards Industrial Revolution, job creation, wealth generation.

“This is a historic moment and a big step for us as a country .Apart from power, one of the critical areas which President Goodluck Jonathan has made a priority is to have functional refineries. My understanding is that by the time the whole project is completed, the cost is estimated at about $4.5bn.

“This is the beginning of changing our old paradigm from exporting just raw materials and exporting jobs to the Western countries. This is something that we have done as a country for so long time. There is no nation that has moved from being a poor nation to a rich one by exporting raw materials without having a vibrant industrial base. That is what we have to change for us to be a rich nation, and that is what of National Industrial Revolution Plan is based on.”

Aganga said that the Ministry of Trade and Investment would work together with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to ensure the actualisation of the projects.

He added, “The Nigerian Industrialisation Revolution Plan is based on areas where we have comparative and competitive advantage as a country. The signing of the MOU is the beginning of the process. The Ministry of Trade and Investment has not done this alone. We are working in collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC. We are working together as a team to ensure that in 12 months’ time, we witness the commissioning of the refineries.

“What we have done is to carry out due diligence on the prospective investors before we even start having discussions with them. We try to find out where they are coming from and their antecedents, whether they have done what they are planning in other parts of the world, and also if they have the money to invest.”

Speaking during the event, the Vice-President/Director, Vulcan Petroleum Resources Limited, Jim Mansfield, said the investment was a testimony that “Nigeria is a good place to do business.”

“The funding for the project will be a non-Nigeria source and is from investors who firmly believe that Nigeria is a good place to do business. We also believe that Nigeria is open for business,” he said.

The Chairman, Petroleum Refining and Strategic Reserve Limited, Edozie Njoku, said that the company would work with its foreign technical partner and the regulatory authorities to ensure the successful completion of the project within the time frame.

“The six refineries will have a combined capacity to refine 180, 000 barrels of crude oil within the country and produce up to 30 million litres per day of refined products within 30 months. The entire modular refinery complex is built in the United States, including all piping and electrical and test operated to assure that each plant will achieve 100 per cent of its approximately five million litres per day production capacity.

“It will take approximately six months to construct each refinery in the USA, one month to test and dismantle the refinery for shipping; one month to commence shipment of the refinery complex to Nigeria; followed by four-five months to re-assemble the refinery in Nigeria and commence full production. The modular refinery is far easier to construct and maintain, and it can be constructed at any place and relocated to any site depending on the need.
Former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, commended the efforts of the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, in facilitating investment into the country.

He said, “The eagerness of the Olusegun Aganga in handling matters expeditiously is very commendable. This is how things are supposed to be done in this country.”