L-R: Founder and Chairman, Quantum Petrochemical Company Limited, Mr. Jim Ovia; President Goodluck Jonathan; Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, at the ground-breaking ceremony of the $1.5 billion methanol and petrochemical plant in Ibeno, Akwa
Ejiofor Alike and Okon Bassey
In furtherance of his administration's efforts to promote industrialisation in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a $1.5 billion methanol plant in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State, by Quantum Petrochemical Company Limited, a company established by the Founder of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia.
Speaking at the ceremony, Jonathan said the federal government has sought to support such gas-based industries through the gas master plan strategy and would continue its efforts to make gas available for such projects.
He therefore advocated the establishment of more petrochemical plants in the country to create wealth and boost the country's foreign exchange earnings.
“This $1.5 billion plant will put Nigeria on the global map for petrochemicals processing, particularly given the role that global brands such as IHS and Saipem are playing as the consultants and project developer of the initiative respectively.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria lends it support wholeheartedly to ensuring the success of this project. I would like to encourage Mr. Jim Ovia and his board not to relent in their efforts to support the growth of entrepreneurship in the Nigerian economy,” he said.
The president also thanked the host community for providing land for the project, pointing out that the country needed more of such projects meant to provide direct and indirect jobs for the teeming populace and reduce poverty.
Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, described Jonathan as a transformational leader, noting that he had touched all sectors of the economy.
Akpabio also lauded Ovia for his vision by citing the project in the riverine area of the state, pointing out that he did so out of his volition without being lobbied, describing the project as laudable as it would positively affect the future of the state and transform its economy and that of the nation.
In his remarks, Ovia, who is also the Founder and Chairman of Quantum Petrochemical, said the president’s visit to the area was a further demonstration of his industrialisation policy.
Ovia said the project is important to the manufacturing industry, adding that it would produce fertiliser, tyres, shovels, clothes and plastic bottles, among others.
“The importance of developing capacity within the petrochemicals industry should not be underestimated: petrochemicals provide the foundation for manufacturing industries; for example, construction, packaging, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, textiles, etc,” Ovia stated.
He added: “Our plant’s huge consumption of 170 mmscf per day will help fuel investment in gas infrastructure that will also be of benefit to the power sector. Nigeria has the capacity, both human and natural resources, to become a world leader in petrochemicals.
“I am very excited at the prospect of Quantum Petrochemical Processing Plant Limited becoming one of the first wholly private sector-led petrochemical complexes to be developed in Nigeria.”
Ovia took time to enumerate the importance of petrochemical plants to the overall development of the economy.
“Petrochemicals are vital to our everyday life - the plastic bottles that allow us to drink sanitary water, the clothes that we wear, the fertilisers that we use to grow crops, the tires on our cars that brought us here today, the shovel that we will use to break the ground; the cosmetics the ladies among us applied today; the pharmaceuticals we take every day to enjoy a healthy life, are all derivatives of petrochemicals of some form,” he explained.
He said the petrochemical park would enable a host of local industries to sprout and flourish and provide significant employment opportunities for Nigerians.