Gov Okowa determined to smoothen ground
By Kasarachi Azuka
Project to gulp over 2700 hectares of land
Osinbajo, Ibe Kachikwu, Baru have met with international investors
AGMC of Dubai leads consortium of 500 investors
Groups from South Korea, China, UAE, interested
Fertilizer, methanol, petrochemicals, aluminum on the card
Place to operate with Tax Free Zone status
Prosperity is looking in the direction of Delta State as an industrial gas hub is about to spring up in ogidigben, a town in the state. Now, the Federal Government of Nigeria has started moves to show determination to kick-start the project. Delta State says the project is Nigeria’s best hope for a gas revolution.
Details: Government would not be obstacle to the speedy take-off of the long-awaited Ogidigben industrial gas park in Warri as planned by the federal government.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa gave the assurance when a delegation led by Sheikh Mohammed Bayorh, general manager of Alpha Grip Management Company and leader of the group of investors and developers on the project, visited him at the Government House, Asaba, last week.
Bayorh and his team were in the state to meet with stakeholders in the project to share ideas and present their road map on how to start and deliver the project according to specification.
The Ogidigben gas industrial park ground breaking ceremony was performed by ex-president Goodlluck Jonathan in March 2015at the proposed site in Warri. The ceremony took place after several postponements as a result of clash of interests by Ijaw and Itsekiri communities of the state over the site of the project. The commencement of the project however could not take place until the ex-president bowed out of power in May same year.
In 2016, militant attacks on oil in the Niger Delta led to the vandalizing of oil pipelines. This culminated in the shutting down of some major oil pipelines, with its negative effect on the nation’s economy and especially Delta State that was said to be hardest hit by the attacks.
Following the development, the Buhari-led federal government, in February 2017, renewed interactive engagements with oil-producing communities in the states of the oil-rich region.
Delta State was one of the states visited by the presidential team led by vice president, Yemi Osibanjo, and the building of the industrial gas park in Ogidigben was one of the feedbacks from the state. The industrial gas park valued at $20 billion (N6 trillion) was planned to be built through public-private partnership model.
Tagged the Gas Revolution Industrial Park (GRIP), the project was envisaged to be a regional hub for all gas-based industries and would cover 2,700 hectares of land with fertilizer, methanol, petrochemicals and aluminum plants located in the park that has already been designated as a Tax Free Zone by the federal government.
Osinbajo, alongside the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, and other top government and NNPC officials met, with a group of international investors and developers put together under a consortium by Dubai-based firm, AGMC. The consortium is made up of Fortune 500 companies such as the GSE & C of South Korea, the China Development Bank, Power China and several other global operators from Asia and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle-East.
Under the plan presented by the consortium to the Acting President, about $20 billion would be invested to develop the GRIP, and generating 250,000 direct and indirect jobs in the process.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ibeh Kachikwu, had expressed confidence that the GRIP would bring the much needed succor to the people of the Niger Delta and the oil-producing states.
Sheikh Mohammed Bayorh had also stated the commitment of the consortium to the project even as he stressed it’s importance to solving the Niger Delta crisis.
Now, last week, Bayorh-led team who met with the stakeholders in the project, the assurance they got from Gov Okowa was: “Delta state is ready to provide the needed enabling environment to ensure that the project begins immediately in order to build confidence among the investors and the community that have provided us with the land.
Okowa pledged the state government’s support for the development of the gas policy and road map of the investors.
He expressed hope that that the project starts in earnest as according to him, it has been delayed for so long. “We need to fast track the project as it has been on the drawing board for too long and investors’ confidence is being affected”.
Okowa noted that the project would be “the litmus test for the development of the gas road map in the country”
He harped on the economic importance, saying, “This project holds a lot of prospect for us as a state and for the nation. We are truly ready to have reforms in the gas sector. It will aid our economic development, not only in harnessing our gas reserve but also providing jobs for our teeming youths.”,