Efforts by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration to transform Edo
State into an industrial hub and create the 200,000 jobs he promised Edo
electorates during his electioneering campaign are clearly in sight with
the successful signing of two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese
companies for the development of Gelegele Seaport and other infrastructure
as well as a 5,500 modular refinery in the state.

While the Gelegele Seaport will open up Edo State to the international
market, the 5,500 modular refinery will boost the refining capacity of
local refineries and will address the age-long fuel supply crisis resulting
from inadequate capacity to refine petroleum products locally.

The MoU signing ceremony in China on Monday, will see China Harbour
Engineering Company, the biggest infrastructure company in China, with a
robust portfolio covering the broad infrastructure spectrum, lead the
development of the Gelegele seaport that will serve as the gateway for
exporting manufactured goods from the Benin Industrial Park under
construction and other manufacturing companies in the region.

The MoU signing is the result of series of engagements between Governor
Obaseki and the Chairman of China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), Mr Lin
Yichong, which started last year.

China Harbour Engineering Company Limited is a global player in
infrastructure development handling the construction-dredging/excavation
for waterfront development in Yanbu, southwest Saudi Arabia and on the
northern shore of the Red Sea as well as the Lagos moles repair project,
being executed by the Nigeria Port Authority.

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Others are the Offshore Approach Light Structure in New Doha International
Airport, which includes three terminal bridges and three temporary steel
bridges and the Ma’aden Infrastructure Project Port Design and
Construction, owned by the Saudi Arabian Mining Company, amongst others.

The MoU for the Gelegele Seaport project was followed on Wednesday by the
sealing of a deal with another Chinese Consortium for a 5,500 barrel per
day modular refinery in Edo State.

The Chinese consortium is made up of Peiyang Chemical Equipment Company of
China (PCC), a world-leading modular refinery company; Sinopec
International Petroleum Service Corporation (SIPS) which is a subsidiary of
Sinopec, the top Chemical giant in the world and African Infrastructure
Partners (AIP), a Nigerian Infrastructural company.

The first phase of the project will be ready within twelve (12) months
after all the necessary approvals are granted by the regulatory

The MoU signing ceremony for the refinery took place at
SINOPEC headquarters in Beijing, China, and was witnessed by officials of
the Nigerian Embassy in the Asian country as well as staff of SIPS
Nigeria, a major local fabrication company, with a branch in Benin City,
Edo State.

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Speaking at the event, Governor Obaseki, expressed his delight at the local
content component of the deal, which will ensure that Edo citizens are
trained in welding, refinery operation and fabrication works to enable them
participate in the construction of the refinery as well as its operation,

The governor assured that the refinery construction will provide jobs for
several unemployed Edo youths including the Libya returnees who are being
evacuated from the crisis-ridden North African country.

Obaseki added that the modular refinery will solve the problem of
inadequate petroleum products in the country and will turn Edo State to the
preferred source of petroleum products considering the gateway status of
Edo State to other parts of the country.

He expressed deep appreciation to the management of PCC and SIPS
reiterating that with their support, Edo State is well on its way to
becoming a hub of skilled manpower for the oil and gas industry and give
boost to Nigeria’s local content policy.

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“With the federal government of Nigeria’s commitment to support communities
in the Niger Delta states to set up modular refineries, the SIPS
fabrication yard in Benin City is expected to be very busy handling the
fabrication jobs of modular refineries in the Niger Delta Region,” Obaseki

He pledged that his administration will provide community support to the
project, assist in securing all regulatory approvals from the appropriate
regulatory authorities such as the federal ministry of petroleum resources.

The Consortium committed to delivering phase 1 of the project within 12
months of receiving the required regulatory approvals.

In addition, PCC also agreed to finance the Demonstration modular refinery
up to 70 per cent, thereby assisting in scaling the financing hurdle that
has militated against the development of modular refineries in Nigeria.

The project will be executed in two phases; phase 1 consisting of 500bpd
demonstration refinery and phase 2 consisting of a 5,000bpd capacity
refinery. The PCC will also serve as the Operations and Management company
that will manage the refinery before transferring it to the local investors.

The demonstration refinery will serve as proof of concept and train the
indigenes in the management of the refinery.