The Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria has launched an initiative to establish conventional and standard locally-build refineries in Niger Delta to boost local oil production.
Professor Ibrahim Mohammed-Dabo, the Team Leader, ABU Refinery Project, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zaria, Kaduna State that the team’s ultimate is to have a conventional and standard locally build refinery that can refine Nigerian crude.
Mohamed-Dabo, a Professor of Chemical Engineering said: “We are hoping, if enough funding is made available to us, to perfect what we have on ground. We shall be willing to build other ones that can be stationed in the Niger Delta.
“This is where most of the Nigerian crude oil is produced. When new ones are built, we are going to train operators that will manage them.”
He recalled that the ABU mini refinery project started in 2011 when he wrote a research proposal to the university management for onward delivery to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) for funding.
“In monetary terms, the initial stage of the project was proposed to cost a total of N18 million, but to our surprise, only N1.8 million was approved for the project,” he said.
“We initially wanted to abandon the project because the amount approved was so small, but being very passionate about it, we started the design and fabricated some components with that meagre amount.
“Actually, it reached a stage that we had to use our personal money for the project. When we started installation at the site, we invited the university management to the site and they were very happy.
“On appreciating what was done, the then Vice-Chancellor pledged that the university was going to support the project which they did by providing land, security light and water,” Mohammed-Dabo said.
He added that dedicated personnel were employed purposely for the project and the university hasbeen very supportive.
He added:”As you know, refinery is made up of many units; the first unit to be put in place in any refinery are the desalting and crude distillation units.