Monday, March 12, 2018 4:49 pm
West African countries are to benefit from the new oil refinery soon to take off in Liberia
ABUBAKAR HASHIM/ Monrovia
The Ecowas Refinery Liberia Limited (ERLL) has reached an advanced stage for the setting up of a refinery project in the Buchanan coastal city in Liberia, thereby putting an end to the lingering fuel scarcity, particularly in Nigeria and the West African Region.
During the Presidential inauguration, President George Weah told the International Community that he will open flood gates of investments to the Liberian economy. Ecowas refinery, being a periority project that will turn around the fortunes of Liberia, is positioned to solve the unemployment issues as one of the projects that jump start the fulfilment of President Weah’s election promises of massive youth job employment.
The approval for the project has already been granted by the government of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, with the Liberian Investment Commission (LIC) and the Liberian Petroleum and Refining Company (LPRC) as joint venture partners.
The Refining project, when fully operational, will provide over 4,000 jobs to the youths; generate 29 mw of electricity for the city of Buchanan and its environs, with a standard hospital and school to be built, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
With the current trend of refined product scarcity in the West African sub region, including Nigeria, ERLL is eagerly looking forward to a joint venture with NNPC for a stake in the refinery project to put an end to fuel scarcity in the region.
Nigerian crude will be supplied to ERLL in Liberia and exchanged for refined products to meet the needs of the Nigerian Market and beyond.
Due to the proximity of the two countries, transporting the crude from Nigeria and the refined products back to Nigeria, transportation cost will be tremendously reduced on the side of NNPC and independent marketers in Nigeria.
Most oil vessels fly Liberian flag of convenience. NNPC and the independent marketers will trade with these vessels, through ERLL, thereby saving costs and impliedly, a reduction in the pump price in the market.
Other associated companies and industries like the paint factories and plastic industries will benefit from this network arrangement, which will create more jobs for the unemployed youths.
The Executive Vice Chairman of ERLL, Chief Tony Izubundu Chinyere, while congratulating the new President of Liberia and his Vice, Jewel Howard-Taylor, is upbeat of President Weah’s vision of creating employment for the youths and his drive for an inclusive government of National Unity.
On the move to partner with NNPC, Chief Tony remarked that “we cannot wait to lead Liberian delegation, comprising LPRC, LIC, to jump start negotiations with NNPC, with a view of forging ahead a bilateral relations for a win – win strategy for both countries”.
The ERLL refinery project is designed for a 100,000 bpd production. With its partners KBR, Petro China and Siemens AG, Germany, ERLL is positioned to usher a new dawn for economic emancipation of Liberia, making it an investment destination in the sub region.
With 2000 of land currently secured for the project by LPRC, overlooking the port of Buchanan City, when fully operational, the city and its indigenes will be beneficiaries to this project.
The lead engineering, procurement and construction company, Peiyang Chemical Company (PCC) of China is at an advanced stage with ERLL to move the project.
A high-powered Chinese delegation will soon visit the refinery site to conduct environmental social impact assessment and soil test, to ensure highest state of international environmental standard is not compromised.
The team will also ensure that the impact on the ecosystem flora and fauna is at barest minimal environmental impact. This will be followed by the ground – breaking ceremony after the return visit of the Liberian delegation from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja, Nigeria.