Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and players in the petroleum industry have assured Edo voters that the reelection of Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the party in the September 19 gubernatorial election, will ratchet up industrialisation efforts and sustain the emerging pro-business posture of the state government.
They also expressed optimism that the 5500bpd Edo Modular Refinery presently under construction in Ologbo in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area will be a big boost to the economy of the state and that of the country.
Mr. Chris Nehikhare, State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, who spoke to journalists in Benin City, on behalf of the PDP Campaign Council, said: “Apart from reducing the pressure on the demand for foreign exchange to buy finished products from overseas, the Edo Modular Refinery will create employment opportunities for the citizens of the state.”
Nehikhare noted that, “The Modular Refinery, which is the outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration and a Chinese consortium, is 70 per cent completed.”
The PDP added that “When completed, it would produce from its feedstock 50 per cent of diesel (500,000 litres), 25 per cent of naphtha (300,000 litres), and 20 per cent of fuel oil (200,000 litres).
“The crude will be sourced from the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC)’s facility – oil mining lease (OML) 111, near Benin City.”
Speaking on the viability of the refinery when completed, a top player in the Edo State branch of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Daniel Ojo, said the refinery would cater to the people’s need for petroleum products.
Ojo urged states that have crude oil in the Niger Delta region to establish modular refinery to crash the cost of petroleum products in the country.
He said, “When completed, the economic benefit will be huge. Before now, the Benin depot of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) used to be very busy and it created a lot of business opportunities for people who came to buy products. If the modular refinery is completed in Ologbo, it will attract a lot of businesses.
“The petroleum business cuts across all sectors and this will be a boost to the economy of the state and Nigeria. It will also lead to a reduction in the prices of petroleum products because of its availability and demand and supply factor. It will bring about rapid economic growth.
“We wish that the government encourages the establishment of two or three refineries in each state around the Niger Delta region where the crude is soured. It can work in areas where there are creeks and that is why its establishment in Ologbo is good. It can also work in Ovia where there are creeks. There will be an economic boost.”
Also, the Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Edo State, Comrade Eddy Ossai, said the modular refinery goes beyond Edo, adding that it will also boost the country’s economy.
“This will be a very big boost on the state economy because automatically the Internally Generated Revenue will jerk up. Besides, there will be massive job opportunities for citizens. It will be a plus for the government and the oil and gas sector in the state.
“It will also help us to conserve our foreign reserves by reducing the demand for dollars to purchase finished petroleum products from other countries. So, the economic impact will be beyond Edo economy,” he added.