MODULAR REFINERIES: CONSEQUENTIAL TO JOB CREATION.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

"We cannot continue to close our eyes to the looming crisis of unemployment on the African continent", said Tony Elumelu, recently. "With nearly 200 million people aged 15-24, Africa has the youngest and most rapidly growing population in the world. By 2045, our youth population will double to exceed that of China and India. By 2020, Africa will need 122 million jobs if we are to succeed in the fight against poverty and maintain political stability and global security".

The unemployment problem in Nigeria will persist without creative thinking. Thinking out of the box (or thinking beyond the box) is a metaphor for thinking differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel or creative thinking At times, it may result in frank and insightful re-appraisal of a situation, oneself, and managing the progress of standard operating procedures of an organisation. Imagine Nigeria as a farmer with bountiful crop yields, but unable to cook the farm products, and seeks and buys cooked food from restaurants at enormous cost. It is foolish for economic, security, and strategic reasons.

To be successful, our leaders must be purpose- driven. Like the heavens, we need order. Money is not everything. We need thoughtful, progressive ideas like ideas that enabled automobiles, aeroplanes, to be manufactured, etc., yet we cannot decide on modular refineries.

The issues of unemployment, fuel scarcity, PIB, and illegal refineries have been lingering because of paralysis from analysis. Like the parable of the donkey that starved to death, the donkey was placed at an equal distance between a carrot on his left, and a carrot on his right. Since he was equally distant from both, he couldn't make up his mind which one to choose. As a result of his inability to decide, he was stuck in the middle, and eventually starved to death.

People suffer from 'paralysis from analysis', constantly over-analyzing and unable to take a firm decision, and stick with it. As a result, they miss a lot of opportunities, and figuratively starve themselves to death as the opportunities disappear. Nigeria has crude oil asset, which is consequential to any job creation activities. To economically convert raw crude oil into more useful fuels and petrochemicals, multitude of tanks and vessels, numerous pipes of varying sizes, fired heaters, pumps and compressors, heat exchangers, reactors, and distillation columns, instrumentation and control systems, and more, are used, and need to be designed, manufactured, and produced to create employment

In reality, a refinery is an organised and coordinated arrangement of manufacturing processes designed to produce physical and chemical changes in crude oil and natural gas.

One way to solve Nigeria's fuel scarcity problem is to install modular refineries at strategic locations (Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Delta, Ondo, Lagos, and the distribution network: Integrated product pipeline system - 4300 km, crude oil pipeline network - 700 km, pumping/booster stations - 20).

Modular refineries are flexible and cost- effective supply option for crude producers in remote regions. This is particularly true where there is a need to adapt rapidly to meet local demand. Relatively low capital cost, speed and ease of construction are key advantages of a modular mini-refinery. Location in close proximity and access to crude supply near to sizeable markets will provide logistic advantage.

To assist in developing the country, we should contribute through the vital role of technology in the systematic transformation of the production systems and capacities. Why? Because development will always depend on the internal innovative capacities of a society, for it is man rather than machine that creates development. Technology transfer is a myth for nonproductive nations, and a reality for the nations with new means of production, capital formation, and technical knowledge. Sustained economic growth is then further ignited, accentuated, and escalated by increasing technical wisdom.

The first units in a refinery involve no chemical reactions or catalysts. Rather, based on each component's boiling point, they separate and distribute to a range of components for further downstream processing and conversion. Downstream units include such equipment as pumps and compressors, heat exchangers, reactors, and distillation columns.

Various consumer goods from refining processes can create jobs in producing Liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline for vehicles, jet fuel, paraffin for lighting and heating, diesel fuels, lubricating oils, waxes, and polishes, fuels for ships, factories and central heating, asphalt for roads and roofing.

Products from a modular liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant can also be used to create jobs in aerospace and defence, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, chemicals, construction and infrastructure, electronics, food and beverage, glass, medical, laboratories, metallurgy, metal fabrication, rubber and plastics, power and energy, pulp and paper, petrochemicals and refining, mobility and transportation industries.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN.