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Chemical engineers caution FG on modular refineries

The deputy national president of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), Engr. Onuchie Anyaoku, has called on the Federal Government to  be more careful…

The deputy national president of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), Engr. Onuchie Anyaoku, has called on the Federal Government to  be more careful on its plan to build modular refineries to avoid the challenges facing the existing ones. 

Engr. Anyaoku made the call yesterday in Abuja while speaking with Daily Trust on Sunday after the monthly meeting of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Nasarawa chapter of the NSChE, which was also used to inspect WEAMS factory owned by a fellow of the society, Engr. Wereuche Morgan Amadi. 

Engr. Anyaoku, who said the modular refineries were not in any sense different from big world-scale standard refineries apart from its small size, stated that the skills, the expertise and the knowledge required to build, manage and maintain modular refineries were exactly the same in big refineries.  

He said, “The environmental and safety challenges faced in big refineries are also faced in modular refineries. So, the society is not against modular construction, especially if it is done in the country, and if it is modularised such that we can export the jobs outside the country, the society is not against it.   

“But if it is modularised to be fabricated and constructed in the country and it meets the business need of the promoters without direct cash injection from government, the society is not for it.  

“In a nutshell, that is what the society has gone to present to the government, to be conscious and careful so that the government is not drawn into refining assets when everybody knows that the ones the country currently own are underperforming. If business leaders and entrepreneurs are interested in building modular refineries, government should create an enabling environment for them to do so.”  

Last Friday in Abuja, the society presented a position paper to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on modular refineries, which the government intends to adopt as a policy. 

Engr. Anyaoku, who decried the near absence of job opportunities for young chemical engineers, said no country could develop without industrialisation, science and engineering. 

He said the meeting with the acting president was used to submit a letter of request to the Presidency for the society to be considered for inclusion and participation in the various committees and agencies of government set up to drive the energy sector growth, Nigeria’s industrial revolution, the national economic and growth master plan and the Nigeria sugar development master plan.   

Highlight of the occasion was the presentation by Engineer Chinweze Michael on the hydro-carbon processing software used in the oil and gas industry, one of the core mandates of the WEAMS factory.

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