By Kekinde Olatunji
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has said Nigeria consumes about 250 million litres of engine oil yearly and this consumption grows at more than five per cent every year due to the addition of new vehicles and machinery.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Kesiye Wabote, stated this on behalf of the agency and the minister of state for petroleum resources.
He, however, regretted that “the in-country blending capacity has remained constant at 150 million litres, showing a shortage of about 100 million litres. This shortfall is met by the importation of finished lube oil products with the attendant loss of revenue and job opportunities.”
He also said the Federal Government is determined to deepen local content and reduce the importation of products we could produce locally.
He spoke at the groundbreaking of the ERASKON 64,000 Litres/Day Lubricant and Chemical Blending Plant and product Launch ceremony in Gbarain, Yenagoa Bayelsa State.
ERASKON Nigeria Limited is an arm of the ERASKOP industrial and infrastructure conglomerate which includes Erasko Energy Limited and Eraskorp FPSL.
The NCDMB boss explained that the partnership with ERASKON is in line with the agency’s mandate to develop local capacity in the oil and gas sector.
Wabote commended the vision of ERASKON management in setting up the lubricant plant, which, according to him, would provide jobs for over 200 persons and 800 indirectly.
To demonstrate faith in the ERASKON range of lubricants, the local content boss, who performed the groundbreaking ceremony on behalf of Sylva directed the use of ERASKO oil and lubricants in all NCDMB vehicles.
In his welcome address, the Executive Vice Chairman of ERASKORP Nigeria Limited, Mr. Maxwell Oko, pointed out that Nigeria consumes about 700 million litres of lubricants yearly, accounting for about 20 per cent of Africa’s total demand.
“The idea of building a lubricant blending plant follows our determination to contribute to Nigeria’s industrial development,” he said, stressing that lubricants are the lifeline of every engine.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, who performed the launch of the product, congratulated Wabote for supporting ERASKON’s lubricant project just as he supported the Azikiel Refinery.
Jonathan said: “Today is a happy day for me that we are seeing this in Bayelsa. This project will attract other investments and beyond to increase the revenue of the state”
The former president advised youths in the state to emulate Oko by attracting investments to the state.
ERASKON Lubricant and Chemical Blending Plant have the capacity to produce industrial chemicals such as drilling and production chemicals as well as transformer and turbine oil, as well as household products such as detergents and aerosols.