Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, has given the green light to construct a series of mini-plants with the government licensing a total of 40 mini-refineries in an effort to help end its dependency on fuel imports, according to Bloomberg.

The company is seeking to expand output at Nigeria’s first modular refinery tenfold in the next three years, eventually producing more gasoline. Built by independent producer Waltersmith Petroman Oil, the plant became operational in the southeastern Imo state earlier in November. Waltersmith owns a 70% stake in the new facility, which will initially produce mainly diesel, kerosene, and naphtha. 

During a video conference at the virtual opening of the refinery, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said, “The plan to commence the expansion of the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels a day to refine crude oil and condensate is an important aspect of the economic reform the country is undergoing”. 

Nigeria imports almost all of its fuel at a cost of about $7 billion a year. 

With the country’s previous policy of revamping its aging refineries being halted due to a lack of resources, the construction of mini-refineries is seen as a suitable solution to help curb Nigeria’s reliance on fuel imports.