The Minister of State, Ministry of Science and Technology, Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh, has emphasised the need for immediate deployment of Modular Refineries in the Niger Delta region, beginning with states with the most conducive environment with reference to security and business interests.
Ikoh made the disclosure during a courtesy visit alongside Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora to the United States Embassy Commercial Department on Urgent Deployment of Modular Refineries in the nine Niger Delta States.
They reached a decision to leave a visible footprint in the development of Science, Technology and Innovation in Nigeria’s business environment.
He emphasised that such investment will improve the economic outlook of the country, enhance the welfare of the Niger Delta people, also create jobs for local artisans, which will totally eradicate artisanal crude refineries, reduce health hazards and protect Nigeria’s environment.
According to the Minister, a modular system is required at this time and would have to be demonstrated at pilot scale in different locations. He added that the initiative will be purely private sector driven to be facilitated by Rock Results Group.
During the meeting, Ikoh informed the US Embassy Commercial Department that government is wholly committed to supporting the immediate deployment of Modular refinery systems to help reduce the challenges associated with artisanal refining and open new business relationship with American investors. According to him, the initiative is designed to allow for both technology transfer and immediate business takeoff.
He added that the possibility of realising such a lofty target within the shortest time possible is high given the current need and high political will on the part of government.
Responding, the representatives of the US embassy Commercial Department applauded the Ministers’ business visit considering that in the past 21 years, no Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ever visited the Embassy on a business mission and none too had expressed the current level of eagerness to get much done within the shortest time possible.
Ms Ngozi Nkwo, Senior Commercial Specialist of the US Embassy Commercial Department assured the Minster of State, that the US Embassy wholly supports the initiative and promises to match the speed of the Government of Nigeria on the project of deploying modular refinery in the country to enhance business growth, human and environmental protection.
Also, Chamberlain Eke, a Commercial Specialist at US Embassy Commercial Department added that though funding has always hampered such initiatives, especially with reference to commercial scale envisaged, however the enthusiasm of the current regime will facilitate funds sourcing.
The Embassy added that EXIM bank of USA will support the investment as long as the Nigerian business counterparts can raise the required equity of 15 per cent, in line with the financing policy of the bank.
The US Embassy Commercial Department officials also promised to contact American companies in the modular refinery sector and set up the required meetings for the project takeoff.
The representatives of the United States Embassy expressed delight in the opportunities that the modular refinery project will bring to American companies that have already expressed strong interests in the sector and other sectors in the country.
The Ministry of Science,Technology and Innovation under the leadership of Minister, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora and Minister of State, Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh, is out to make the difference in Nigeria.