By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has given investors waivers for the establishment of 15 modular refineries in Rivers State.
The Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Peter Medee, who announced this development, said the waivers cover the bureaucratic process usually underwent by investors for building such refineries.
Mr Medee explained that the Rivers State Government would not be building the modular refineries but secured the waivers on behalf of investors to get all the necessary documentation in a very short time.
The Commissioner said the waivers was necessitated by the need to set modular refineries as an alternative to artisanal refining, which causes soot and environmental degradation.
He expressed optimism that there will be the availability of petroleum products in the state and for export when the 15 modular refineries come on stream.
“In November 2020, we attended the National Council on Hydrocarbon where we submitted two memos to the council, one of which was on the issue of black soot in the state.
“We made a case that Rivers State was suffering from a high level of environmental degradation, especially black soot caused by artisanal refining and to avert it was to make provision for alternative, which is the establishment of modular refineries. So, we asked for a waiver for modular refineries and it was granted.
“Secondly, if we allow individuals to seek approvals for the establishment of modular refineries, it will take a longer time. So, what we did was to seek these approvals to speed up the process.
“For you to set up a modular refinery, you need numerous approvals such as License to Establish, Authority to Construct and License to Operate; each of these takes a long time to acquire due to bureaucracy and red-tapism.
“So, the bureaucratic process and red-tapism are being waived, the time-lagged from when an investor applied to when the applications are approved is reduced since the Rivers State government has already gotten the waiver, it becomes easier,” he said.
Modular refineries are simplified constructions that require significantly less capital investment than traditional full-scale refinery facilities. Refined products can also be transported quickly and easily anywhere in the world and they come in a variety of sizes with capacities that range from 500 to 20,000 barrels per day.