Stakeholders Brainstorm at Petroleum Refining, Petrochem Confab


It was a gathering of the crème de la crème in the Oil and Gas Sector at the Atlantic Hall, Hotel Presidential last week as academics, researchers, industry players and representatives of government agencies converged and deliberated on ways of tackling the challenges facing the Nigerian petroleum refining and petrochemical industry.

Tagged “Port Harcourt 2013”, the 2nd International Conference on Petroleum Refining and Petrochemicals organised by the Centre for Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals (CGRP), Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), University of Port Harcourt in collaboration with Indorama Eleme Petrochemical Company Limited (IEPL), had “Creating Wealth through Diversification, Transformation, and Development of Our Refineries and Petrochemical Industries” as its theme. 

Welcoming guests to the Conference, Chairman of the occasion and Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. (Mrs.) Diezani Alison-Madueke represented by the Group Executive Director, Refining and Petrochemicals, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr Tony Ogbuigwe, noted that “the refined petroleum and petrochemical provides products feedstock to the Manufacturing Industry as well as the Agricultural Sector, which creates growth in the real sector of the economy.”

The Chairman observed that “most petroleum and petrochemical products serve as raw materials or inputs to other manufacturing industries, which ensure the country's growth in building roads, producing paint for building, serves as ingredients for textiles for clothing  and carpets, foams for beddings and furniture, medicines for hospitals, fertilizers for gardens, lubricants for vehicles and machinery, as well as plastics and polymers used in everything from computers to medical equipment to wind turbines and solar panels to cosmetics,” adding that the ability of Nigeria to maximize benefits from the Petroleum Value Chain will significantly improve its revenue stream from the downstream sector, in addition to   having multiplier effects on the nation's economy.

In his keynote address, a one-time Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Thomas John, stated that “there is urgent need for massive investment in the Refining and Petrochemical industry. Development in this sector will not only diversify and transform the Nigerian economy; it will provide an alternative market for the country's crude oil and natural gas resources and make the country less susceptible to the vagaries of the oil and gas market.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ajienka, who noted that refining is one of the greatest challenge in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, expressed joy that stakeholders have gathered to find solution to it. “Transformation and development of our Refineries and Petrochemical industries by full processing of the crude oil and gas resources is a panacea to realise full value chain in the industry” he said, stating that “Institute of Petroleum Studies, under which Centre for Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals operates is an international postgraduate institution dedicated to producing the right calibre of manpower for the oil and gas industry.”

In his paper entitled: “Economic Growth on the Back of the Petrochemical's Sector”, Managing Director IEPL, Mr Manish Mundra, who noted that  “Nigeria with its Hydrocarbon resources and its strategic geographic location, can become the world's newest most attractive location of Petrochemical Assets, especially keeping in view of the North Western European and Americas Market,” said Nigeria is strategically located to serve both Europe and America, adding that “This is the right time for things to be done differently.”

Recounting success story of how the acquisition of the former Eleme Petrochemical by Indorama turned the fortunes of the company around, Mundra who disclosed IEPL's expansion and diversification plan aimed at making Nigeria to the largest petrochemical hub in Africa, said the plan is realisable, but it requires investment-friendly policies describing privatisation is the key is to actualising the dream. 

The Conference, which also featured goodwill messages from representative of the Honourable Minister  of Science and Technology Professor Okon Ita Ewa, represented by G. N Onuoha,   former Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, Dr Emmanuel Egbogah,  and the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Funds(PTDF), Dr Oluwole Oluleye.

Major highlights of the event included presentation of Papers by Group  Coordinator  and Director,  Corporate Planning and Strategy NNPC, Dr Tim Okon, who was represented, Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr Reginald Stanley, immediate past President, Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers,  Dr N John Erinne, Director-General and Chief Executive  Officer,  National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr Umar Bindr and Professor  Sunny Iyuke of University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, amongst others.

In his remarks, Director, CGRP, Professor Godwin Igwe, commended key players in the oil and gas industry, distinguished researchers, erudite scholars, government officials, and the Management of UniPort, IEPL and sponsors of the Conference for their role in making it a huge success.

By Humphrey Ogu

You are here: Home News & Events Featured News Stakeholders Brainstorm at Petroleum Refining, Petrochem Confab