Okon Bassey in Uyo
In the next two years, Ikwe, a remote community in Onna local government area of Akwa Ibom State will come alive as the $50million modular refinery is expected to commence full operation.
A ground breaking and location inspection for the historic refinery in the area was performed by the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel with the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, captains of industry, top executives in the oil and gas sector among the dignitaries that attended the event.
The multi-million dollars refinery called Ikwe-Onna Modular refinery occupying a total of 50.1 hectares of land is said to be a model to boost modular refinery in the country and is expected to commence operation in 2018 with daily production capacity of 5,000 barrel of oil.
The Minister of Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Onu, who was represented by Mr. Ini Nya of the Technology Incubation Centre of the Ministry said that the approval for the establishment of the refinery in the area was government agenda to encourage local contents development in the oil and gas sector.
“The federal government will assist any entrepreneur, innovation, technology and partnership that the private sector has and they want to come in with the federal government, the government is very pleased about it and will support the initiative of the company.
“There are always policies in place for the establishment of refineries in the country and except you have all these policies in place and pass through the due process before you start anything, the federal government will be very angry with whatever you are doing.
“For now the federal government is fighting hard to ensure that bunkering and militancy stops. They don’t have the licence or capacity to go into production and because they do not have that capacity, the federal government is doing everything to ensure that militancy comes to an end”, the Minister said in an interview.
The Board Chairman of the company, Mr. Bassey Rex, said Ikwe-Onna Refinery “is prepared with the intention to show our support and active pursuance of the state government industrialisation plan for Akwa Ibom State.”
The Managing Director of the Ikwe- Onna refinery, Mr. Daminago Ogaji, who shed more light on the project, said the “Ikwe Onna Rifinery is a modular which the federal government is looking at to showcase in all parts of the Niger Delta because Ikwe-Onna Refinery is 100 percent a Niger Delta owned company.”
“We are determined and ready to use our position to drive a unique industrial revolution, being one of the foremost local content refinery promoters in Nigeria and in West Africa to deepen refining capacity of Nigeria and indeed Africa.’’
According to him, on completion, the refinery will produce 5,000 barrels per day and will be beefed up to 20, 000 bpd in medium -term and is expected to hit 100,000 bpd in long term.
He added: “The Model is very different as we bring in the community as co-partners of what we are doing here. They share 10 percent of what we have. So we work symbiotically.
“If you talk of militancy how do you address it without them being part of you and that is the way forward, getting the local community as part owners and we work together as a family.’’
Speaking on engaging the host community in the project, he said: “We intend to also train the local boys because you will find out that there is going to be primarily local content developed company with everything more than 80 percent will be done locally.
“Tank farms, pipelines and others will be done locally. The only thing that comes from outside is less than 30 of the cost. So we only do that for the first model. We will study it and try to develop on that and see how we can build things locally.
“A modular refinery like this will require 30 or more man power requirement as its still small but by the time you build up the manpower requirement will step up.”
On his part, the governor lauded the management of the Ikwe-Onna refinery limited saying it was in line with the vison of the state government to industrialise the state.
Emmanuel who was represented by Chairman, Foreign Direct Investment Committee, Mr. Gabriel Ukpeh, noted that bring the refinery project to the state is a prove of conducive atmosphere provided by the state government for investors to come to the state.
“This project will open up this area to a wide range of economic activities. It will also create jobs for the teeming youths of this area and its environs.
“I, therefore, urge the youths of this community to maintain the peace and deep sense of cooperation with the contractors and be good ambassadors of this community.
“We have endeavoured to keep our campaign promises by executing a number of laudable projects in infrastructure, agriculture and in investment. We shall continue to keep our eyes on the ball. No one can pull us down”, the Governor stressed.