IBADAN: Past President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday in Bayelsa State, performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the first private modular refinery in the Niger Delta region.
Azikel Refinery, owned by Azikel Petroleum, a subsidiary of Azikel Group of Companies with Azibapu Eruani, an indigene of Bayelsa as its Group President, is located at Obunagha community in Gbarain Kingdom of Yenagoa Local Council Area of the state.
The 12,000-barrels refinery is sitting on 19.92 hectares of a swampy land that was reclaimed with over 2.7m cubic metres of sand, which dredging lasted nine months. Azikel Refinery is expected come on stream in 2019.
Speaking at the event, Obasanjo commended President Muhammadu Buhari for awarding modular refinery operational licences to 22 firms, including the Azikel Petroleum.
He noted that out of the 22 licenced operators, Azikel Petroleum is the only company that had actualised its dream of establishing a modular refinery.
The former President said he was delighted at the commitment of Azikel Petroleum, adding that none of the 18 licenses earlier awarded by his administration came to fruition.
He also commended the state government under Governor Seriake Dickson for creating the enabling environment for the take-off of the modular refinery project.
Governor Dickson, who at the event signed two Certificates of Occupancy and handed them over to Azikel Petroleum and Azikel Power, another subsidiary, also commended President Buhari “for finding Azikel Group fit and proper “to be granted licence, stressing: “we expect more of such friendly gestures.”