The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Ondo State Government to establish a 65,000 million litres per annum biofuel plant in Okeluse, Ondo State.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, on the corporation’s website, Wednesday.
The statement said that the Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, led a delegation from his state to the NNPC towers in Abuja for the MoU signing ceremony.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, according to the statement said the project ”is not fully an NNPC subsidiary and that some investors are also bringing in Foreign Direct Investment into the country for the project.”
Mr. Akeredolu, expressed confidence that the biofuel project would take off for the benefit of the people of Ondo and the country in general.
He assured that the state had enough farmers as well as cassava to sustain the plant, stressing that his visit was to show his commitment to the project.
On the benefits of the project, the GMD highlighted that the construction of the plant and the production of cassava feedstock could create at least one million jobs directly and indirectly.
Reduction of fuel import, a boost in the production of animal feeds from by-products of the plant and a reduction of greenhouse gas emission to combat global warming, were other benefits highlighted by Mr. Baru.
The GMD also allayed fears of any possible negative impact of the plant on the supply of cassava-based foods for human consumption.
According to the statement, Mr. Baru stressed that the cassava that would be used for the biofuel project is a special breed that would not be in competition for human consumption or interfere with the activities of farmers cultivating other breeds of cassava or indeed other crops.
“Your Excellency, we have already discussed with you and you have agreed to make 15,000 hectares of land available towards the cultivation of this cassava. It will, of course, in the process invite people who are used to farming cassava as well as new entrepreneurs who want to go into that business to participate in the cultivation of the cassava that we are going to use for the production of the fuel ethanol.
“We expect that this plant, when built, will be producing at least 65 million litres per annum of fuel ethanol that could be blended into our Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and will be used in Nigeria and neighbouring countries when exported,” the GMD said.
He also mentioned that the biofuel project would be fitted with a 40 megawatts electricity plant that would also supply power to the host communities.
In the statement, the NNPC said it intended to commercialise the greenhouse gas emission reduction capability of the project to win carbon credits for the nation from the international community, adding that it could also make money from such a by-product as industrial starch and others, which could be converted to animal feeds to boost food production in the country.
“The benefits of this project to Nigeria and specifically to Ondo State are immense and NNPC is very eager to see it implemented. We are working with the investors who will invest because there are several dimensions to the project,” Mr. Baru said.
Other parties present to witness the signing of the MoU were the Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM Bank, New Partnership for African Development, NEPAD, and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, the statement said.