Indorama Corporation, the core investor in Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited (EPCL), has completed arrangements to build a world-class fertiliser and methanol plants for over $1.8 billion (N275 billion) at their complex in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
The plants are expected to commence production in 2014-2015.
Chairman of Indorama Group, Mr. S. P Lohia, broke the news to President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deizani Alison-Madueke, when he paid a courtesy visit to the president in Abuja yesterday.
The Managing Director of Indorama-EPCL, Mr. Manish Mundra, confirmed the development, adding that the projects would help the company to achieve its vision of building Africa’s largest petrochemicals hub in Nigeria.
He said the company would soon announce the project formally. However we have learnt that the company had completed preliminary plans on the project, which is expected to deliver over one million metric tons of ammonia and urea fertilisers annually.
“This is going to be one of the biggest Urea complex in Africa,” the source said.
Industry players are said to be excited over the development as the Indorama initiative is expected to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs and produce fertilisers to boost the nation’s agricultural and industrial sectors.
Currently, much of the nation’s fertiliser needs are imported.
In 2006, Indorama Group invested $400 million to acquire and resuscitate the comatose Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited, which was a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Within three months, it concluded extensive turn-around maintenance (TAM) of the plants and commenced production of polyethylene and polypropylene, which had hitherto been imported into the country by manufacturers of plastics products.
The company’s second TAM was done in February 2010. Today the company is producing at near 100 per cent capacity and meeting the needs of the local plastics industry, which uses the petrochemicals products as raw materials. The company’s surplus production is channelled into exports. Last year, Indorama-EPCL won the Presidential Award for Exports, organised by the Nigerian Export Promotions Council (NEPC).
When contacted, Mr. Jossy Nkwocha, special adviser to the Managing Director and head of Corporate Communications of the company, said: “In the past five years, Indorama-EPCL has contributed immensely to the economy of Nigeria in various ways. Our company has created employment opportunities (both direct and indirect) for many Nigerians, especially those from the Niger Delta region and the host communities in particular. Indeed, currently, the company has a total of 650 Nigerian employees and more than 600 others employed by contractors working for the company.”
Nkwocha added that EPCL under Indorama has helped Nigeria to save more than $1 billion in foreign exchange through import substitution and has turned Nigeria into a net exporter of petrochemicals products and has indeed achieved 10 per cent of Nigeria’s total non-oil exports.