Nigeria’s national oil company – the NNPC, has signed a deal with the government of Ondo State to build a biofuel plant with an output capacity of 65 million litres a year in Okeluse area of the state, its spokesman, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, has disclosed.
The NNPC in this regards is expecting Ondo to provide a 15,000 hectares land space for the biofuel plant and cultivation of cassava as feedstocks to the plant.
It said the project would generate up to one million direct jobs, as well as reduce Nigeria’s fuel import.
Reduction of greenhouse gas emission to combat global warming, and boost in the production of animal feeds from by-products of the plant were also listed as the benefits that could accrue from the plant.
Quoting NNPC’s chief, Dr. Maikanti Baru, when he signed the pact with Ondo’s governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (a Senior Advocate of Nigeria), a statement from Ughamadu, noted that the plant would also enable Nigeria to claim carbon credits for reducing carbon emission.
“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,” said Baru.
He said the biofuel plant would have a 40 megawatts (MW) power plant that its host communities could benefit from.
Baru further explained: “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.”
He equally said the project would not affect food production in the state as regards cassava-based foods, adding that the cassava to be used was a special breed that would not interfere with human consumption or activities of farmers cultivating other breeds of cassava.