Worried by the activities of illegal vandals on Nigeria’s pipeline and the need to curb the constant soot experienced in the Niger Delta areas, the federal government has disclosed its intention to engage the services of government institutions to establish 18 modular refineries in six major oil-producing States.
The states, which comprise of Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Cross River are expected to get three modular refineries each, bringing the total number of modular refineries to 18.
This is even as the refineries would be 100 per cent designed and manufactured in Nigeria using the expertise of government institutions such as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal University of Petroleum Effurun and Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
Others are Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Nigerian Content Development and Management Board, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure and among others.
Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, who stated this in a statement made available to newsmen by the ministry in Abuja yesterday, said the refineries would cripple illegal artisanal refining in the affected areas.
According to her, “In a bid to find alternative sources of livelihood for artisanal refiners and to encourage them to disengage completely from their illegal activities, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and other critical stakeholders, are working on the establishment of three modular refineries per state in the oil- producing areas as a pilot scheme to engage them (artisanal refiners).”
Ikeazor stated that the federal government would also train the artisanal refiners on environmental management, including skills required for oil spill management and remediation.
She said the gesture would enable those participating in illegal/artisanal oil refining to transit into modular refineries that would be run legitimately as a business under proper technical, commercial and environmental regulation.
The minister added, “It’s also the intention of government that other artisanal refiners that cannot be absorbed in the pilot modular refineries will be congregated into business clusters and the Alternative Livelihood Fund (ALF) in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) will be utilised to set up businesses for them”.
“These measures will help to drastically reduce the menace of artisanal refining, oil theft and pipeline vandalism to the benefit of our environment and bring prosperity to the oil host communities in the Niger Delta and to our nation at large.”
Ikeazor said that the menace of artisanal refining, oil theft and pipeline vandalism were largely responsible for the devastating environmental degradation especially in the Niger Delta region.
The minister however linked the constant Port Harcourt soot as one of the fall-out of artisanal refineries given the indiscriminate ‘cooking’ of stolen crude oil that had continuously released thick black smoke into the atmosphere, which later settles on surfaces as soot.
This, she said compelled the National Oil Spill and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to commence annual sensitisation campaigns in the host communities of the oil-producing states.
Ikeazor stated that the campaigns were carried out through the agency’s disaster- risk reduction programme that focused on the socio-economic implications of artisanal refining, oil theft and pipeline vandalism, targeted at ending illegalities on the pipelines.
She emphasised that the ministry has sought the support and collaboration of the Minister of Defence and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources in tackling the menace
— Chika Okeke is a journalist with MOC and the Publisher/ Editor of Bennyokeke.blogspot.com, an online news platform.
She joined the services of LEADERSHIP Media Group in 2008 as a Reporter where she rose through the ranks as a Senior Reporter to Deputy Editor Daily, Deputy Editor, LEADERSHIP Sunday and Deputy Editor, LEADERSHIP Friday.
During her sojourn in LEADERSHIP Media Group, she had covered the activities of FCT Area Councils, Ministries of Tourism and National Orientation, Works & Housing and Environment.
With over one decade in journalism, she was able to explore various reporting and writing techniques such as feature writing, editing, investigation and editing, with over over 300 publications to her credit.
She has covered workshops and conferences, both in Nigeria and abroad.
She is currently the Treasurer, Environment Media Correspondents Association of Nigeria (EMCAN) and a member of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).