Some Niger Delta stakeholders have commenced the enumeration of artisanal refineries and crude oil distillation camps in the region ahead of Federal Government liberalisation of modular refineries.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had, on February 14 during the tour of oil communities, announced the policy of deploying modular refineries to drive the economic development of the region.
Speaking at a sensitisation event, a social activist, Pat Obiene, explained that it was a ‘preparation’ for Federal Government’s new policy to formalise the registration of artisanal refineries.
Obiene, who convened the event, said that three groups, Masses Congress, Bayelsa Business Roundtable and Modular Refineries Business Association were collaborating on the data collection to determine the total capacity of the local refineries.
More than 200 operators of crude oil distillation camps referred in local parlance as ‘kpo Fire’ camps turned up for the exercise.
According to Obiene, “This is a follow-up to the pronouncement on the Federal Government’s desire to use modular refineries open up the Niger Delta and fast-track development, so we thought it wise to kick-start this initiative.”
He explained: “We have designed the forms to classify the artisans into Crude Point Owner, Loader, Cooker/Refiner and Dumpsite Owner to capture data on number of workers, daily crude volume and daily turnover.
Olaitari Ikemike, President of Bayelsa Business Roundtable, an affiliate of the African Business Roundtable, explained that the initiative was aimed at networking and cross-fertilisation of ideas among stakeholders.
Mrs. Faith Wilkinson, a local manufacturer of lubricants, urged women involved in local refineries to embrace the emerging opportunity to add value to the crude oil endowments of the region.
Roland Kiente, who operates a local refinery in Peremabiri Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government in Bayelsa, canvassed further sensitisation in the creeks to enable all operators to register.
Chairman, Modular Refineries Business Association in Bayelsa, Clever Oyabara, noted that formalisation would eradicate youth restiveness.
Meanwhile, the Ndokwa Keku Union (NNU) in Delta State has said the Vice President’s visit to the Niger Delta region would not be meaningful if efforts were not made to correct the degradation and neglect of the area.
The President-General of NNU, Chief Johnson Opene yesterday in Asaba urged the Federal Government to implement the stepping down of the power project in Ndokwa East, establish a federal skill acquisition centre in the area, remain faithful to the amnesty programme and carry along the Ndokwa nation in decisions concerning the region.