The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) says it will support efforts to address some of the major challenges hindering the operations of Nigeria’s refineries.
Dr Bello Gusau, the Executive Secretary of the fund, disclosed this at the 2017/2018 PTDF annual oil and gas research grant competition close-out seminar in Abuja.
Gusau said that the fund was working with some engineers and researchers to halt the importation of refining catalysts to support the effectiveness of the country’s refineries.
Catalysts are critical materials in the crude oil refining process. It is a substance that aids in the conversion of petroleum refinery naphthas into high-octane liquid products.
It is used to produce a large majority of gasoline products through the refining process.
Gusau, stated that during a fact-finding visit to the Kaduna Refinery, along with some industry stakeholders, it was discovered that sourcing catalysts was a major challenge for the refinery.
According to him, the refinery complained about the high cost of importing refining catalysts and its attendant effect on its overall operations.
“Hitherto, this country has been importing catalysts for refining processes and one of our researchers has developed a Zeolite Catalyst for the purpose of import substitution and using 100 per cent local materials.
“That is one of the issues that would be presented. I am happy to note that this is one of the issues that we would be tackling here today.”
He explained that the research grant competition was aimed at looking at congruent and empirical solutions to the basic challenges and problems of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
He further advised that efforts should be concentrated on domesticating the various researches churned out in the industry over the years.
Also speaking, Mr. Olajide Adebulehin, General Manager, Strategic Planning, said that PTDF was sponsoring research activities in relevant fields in the oil and gas industry that would be productive and very important, as well as increase production in the petroleum industry.
“We are moving away from academic research and that is why we have assembled all the eminent academicians and former professionals in the industry.
“We have given the grants; they have done a lot of work and they are presenting and closing out the work for this research cycle.
“In the oil and gas industry, research and development is very critical; that is what we need for the future growth of the industry.”
On the research grant, he said the PTDF hoped to spend about N12 million for the local aspect of it per research cycle, which would be for a period of two years.
According to him, the endowment, which is for about five years, will receive an average of N25 to N50 million per cycle.
One of the researchers, Mr. Chuma Okoro, a Professor of Environmental Microbiology at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo in Ebonyi State, is working on a project focusing on the substitution of chemical biocides with green natural biocides such as cow urine.
Okoro said that the project, if approved, properly funded and commercialised, would save the Nigerian oil and gas industry millions of dollars in foreign exchange.