National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Rahad Global Investment Ltd and NNPC Energy Services Ltd have signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). The MoU and MoA signed in Abuja by the three bodies will see them partnering to utilise biotechnology to solve perennial problems in Nigeria’s upstream and downstream petroleum industry. NABDA, Rahad and NNPC-EnServe formed this partnership for the application of biotechnology tools in oil tank farm cleaning, crude oil, paraffin recovery and remediation of oil-contaminated soil. While speaking on the development, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, the NABDA Director-General, said utilising biotechnology tools to solve problems in the petroleum industry sector. He added that it was part of the measures to enhance economic rejuvenation and environmental sustainability.
“NABDA is saddled with the responsibility of application of biotechnology in the country. There are NABDA researchers working with Rahad Global Investments to bring out this technology, while the NNPC Energy Services (EnServe) is responsible for the implementation,” Mustapha told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He said that the NNPC was the custodian of the tank farm, the oil exploration, among others, and therefore the necessity for the tripartite agreement. “Through biotechnology application, the soil will be rejuvenated where the exploration has taken place and paraffin would be recovered, instead of destroying the environment where chemical was used.” Mustapha added that the pact was made possible through their collective will of purpose. ”This enabled the partners to match their collective resolve and enthusiasm with the required level of administrative and technical support.
“It is this strong resolve and commitment that has enabled the tripartite team to attain this milestone which will formally kick-start the activities spelt out in the agreement. I am strongly convinced that if similar dedication and commitment shown so far are taken into the implementation stage, all planned activities under the Agreement would be achieved,’’ he said. Ms Sophia Mbakwe, Managing Director of NNPC EnServe, said there were roles they would play to ensure that there was no harm to the environment. She said the implementation was to ensure that remediation and cleaning of the tank farm was properly done according to the timeline that would be specified by the team. Mbakwe noted that the activities spelt out in the agreement were a continuous process in order to enable them keep the environment safe and ensure zero harm to persons.
“It is also to ensure that the soil retained its richness as it was before. There is already a working technical team. With all partners involved, we will be the ones to ensure full implementation of all the processes.” She recalled that NABDA’s MoA with Rahad was anchored on the back of the MoU signed on Oct. 20 in 2021 between Nigeria and Morocco for research and development of biotechnological products and processes. “In the same vein, our tripartite MoA involving NABDA, Rahad and EnServe is designed to achieve the domestication, deployment, commercialisation of biotechnological tools in tank farm cleaning, crude oil and paraffin recovery, remediation of oil contaminated soils, among others.” Earlier, Dr Chbihi Driss, CEO of Rahad Global Investment Ltd, said he was delighted to discover NABDA’s excellent capacity and mandate on biotechnology which gave their solutions a real chance.
Driss said this would allow Nigeria, the first African oil power, to be the first country to reduce by nearly 90 per cent the oil discharges which pollute soil and ground water. He said that Nigeria would be the first country to generalise the treatment of oil waste by non-polluting biotechnology on a national scale. The CEO added that Nigeria would also gradually replace mechanical and chemical techniques which lead to a polluting discharge. “This will create hundreds of jobs through the gradual domestication of this technology and generate significant revenue in Nigeria through bioremediation which is an integral part of the solution in this project. This income, jobs, depollution, bio and high technology package will make this project a showcase of technical mastery at the international level,’’ Driss said.(NAN