By Etuka Sunday
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it has commenced comprehensive community integration and stakeholders’ engagement to sensitize dwellers of Iwure, Ojor and Osomba/Akin communities of Cross River State ahead of planned oil palm-based biodiesel project in that part of the state.
The Corporation said the 26, 000 hectares facility was designed to accommodate an oil palm plantation co-located with bio-diesel, crude palm oil co-generation plants and other facilities.
Already, officials of the corporation’s Renewable Energy Division (RED) have embarked on the sensitization campaign across affected communities, providing information on the rationale and projected benefits of the biofuels projects in the state.
The NNPC Research and Development Division (R&D) is also being engaged for the conduct of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the projects.
The release said that the plant was projected to generated about 14 megawatts of electricity from empty fruit bunches and the residue from oil palms.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu in a statement said, under the arrangement, the oil palm would be processed into fuel grade Biodiesel and industrial crude palm oil as by-products.
The Biodiesel will be blended with diesel in a mix of 20 per cent biodiesel and 80 per cent diesel and sold as B20 in the domestic market. Any utilized biodiesel quantity would be exported to the international market.
The NNPC Cross River bio-fuel project is in tandem with renewed drive by the corporation to develop biofuels in Nigeria through partnership with core investors to create a low carbon economy and link oil and gas sector to the agricultural sector.
This is also to mitigate the adverse effect of climate change and the transformation of NNPC into an integrated energy company with diverse portfolio.
The business model would involve a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising NNPC, State Government and the Core-investor.
The state Government is expected to provide land as equity while core investor takes more than 50 per cent equity and operate the venture leaving NNPC and state Government with minority share of less than 50 per cent.
So far, Kebbi, Ondo, Taraba, Benue, Jigawa, Kogo, Adamawa have shown interest in partnering with NNPC in biofuels projects.