LAGOS (AFP) â€“ An estimated 7,000 jobs will be created in Nigeria’s southern Bayelsa State when a refinery is built there in a joint project with China, state oil officials said on Thursday.
State-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said in a statement that the Bayelsa refinery is one of three to be built across the country with a total installed capacity of 750,000 barrels per day.
The three ‘Greenfield Refineries‘ will be located in Bayelsa, the commercial capital Lagos and central Kogi state, the statement said.
“An estimated 7,000 job opportunities would be up for grabs courtesy of the planned construction and operation of a Greenfield Refinery in Bayelsa State by the NNPC, in partnership with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC),” the statement said.
The lack of employment is often cited as one of the main causes of armed militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
Two months ago, the NNPC signed an agreement with CSCEC to jointly seek debt financing from Chinese banks for the funding and construction of the three refineries and one petrochemical plant at a cost of 23 billion dollars in one of Africa’s biggest tie-ups with China..
The Bayelsa refinery is expected to produce about 500,000 metric tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas per annum, NNPC director Billy Agha said.
During a meeting with NPPC and Chinese investors, Bayelsa Governor Timipre Sylva urged NNPC to establish the refinery in Oloibiri, the community where commercial crude oil exploration and production first began 53 years ago, the statement said.
The Lagos refinery alone will cost eight billion dollars.
The sprawling city of some 15 million people experiences regular power and fuel crises.
Officials said the refinery will have the capacity to refine 300,000 barrels of oil per day and 500,000 metric tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas per year.
The Chinese state firm will contribute 80 percent of the capital while the NNPC will take care of the remaining 20 percent, they said.