As part of its involvement and support across the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has commenced comprehensive community integration and stakeholders’ engagement to sensitize dwellers of Iwure, Ojor and Osomba/Akin communities of Cross River State ahead of planned oil palm-based biodiesel project in that part of the state.
According to the Corporation, the 26, 000 hectares facility was designed to accommodate an oil palm plantation co-located with bio-diesel, crude palm oil co-generation plants and other facilities.
Officials of NNPC Renewable Energy Division (RED) have embarked on the sensitization campaign across affected communities, providing information on the rationale and projected benefits of the biofuels projects in the state. Research and Development Division (R&D) is also being engaged for the conduct of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the projects.
The plant was projected to generated about 14 megawatts of electricity from empty fruit bunches and the residue from oil palms. Under the arrangement, the oil palm would be processed into fuel grade Biodiesel and industrial crude palm oil as by-products. The Biodiesel will be blended with diesel in a mix of 20 per cent biodiesel and 80 per cent diesel and sold as B20 in the domestic market. Any utilized biodiesel quantity would be exported to the international market.
The NNPC-Cross River bio-fuel project is in tandem with renewed drive by the corporation to develop biofuels in Nigeria through partnership with core investors to create a low carbon economy and link oil and gas sector to the agricultural sector. This is also to mitigate the adverse effect of climate change and the transformation of NNPC into an integrated energy company with diverse portfolio.
The business model would involve a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising NNPC, State Government and the Core-investor. The state Government is expected to provide land as equity while core investor takes more than 50 per cent equity and operate the venture leaving NNPC and state Government with minority share of less than 50 per cent.
Other states like Kebbi, Ondo, Taraba, Benue, Jigawa, Kogo, Adamawa have shown interest in partnering with NNPC in biofuels projects.
In another development, the Management of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has expressed readiness to invest additional $3billion in its existing stakes in offshore oil and gas operations in Nigerian jurisdiction.
Leading a team of CNOOC top executives to the corporate headquarters of NNPC, Yuan Guangyu, Chief Executive Officer of the Beijing based corporation, described its investment in Nigeria as the most strategic and important overseas business undertaking.
He said CNOOC had invested over $14 billion in its Nigerian operations, even as he called on the management of the state owned oil company to seek common grounds of beneficial interest with CNOOC for enhanced productivity.
Yuan Guangyu opined that Nigeria remains the largest investment destination for CNOOC.
Responding, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who was represented by Dr. Victor Babatunde Adeniran, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ventures Autonomous Business Unit of the corporation, thanked CNOOC for its interest in Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.
Adeniran made it known that NNPC was open to new investments and would foster meaningful and mutually beneficial relations with credible entities like CNOOC.
Founded in 1982, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation is one of the three big Chinese national oil entities. CNOOC is originally focused on offshore upstream exploration and production, whereas the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is slanted towards onshore upstream exploration and production. SINOPEC, the third of the tripod, is focused on refining and marketing.