By Ignatius Chukwu
A new oil terminal, Belema Sweet, may soon emerge in the Niger Delta. It is expected to complement the Bonny and Brass Terminals.
The project is at pre-qualifier stage to go into approval quest stages. In the spirit of the newly enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the project must get clear buy-in of the host communities to begin the task of meeting the various federal agencies that would give industry clearance before seeking FG approval.
This necessitated a community forum at the Hotel Presidential on March 30, 2023.
Plans are now at advanced stages for the establishment of what is termed Belema Sweet, an oil terminal to be located in Kula right at the tip of the Atlantic Ocean between Rivers and Bayelsa states.
Belema Sweet (export terminal) is to allow export of crude oil to resume without much danger in the face of one full year of no oil operations by most oil operators following the shutdown of the Transnational Pipeline that delivers crude oil for export to Bonny terminal. The channel had come under attack by oil thieves who bored it and sucked oil for local refining, thus making oil companies to love over 80 per cent of oil passed through the pipeline.
Belemaoil, which said it lost over 5.4m barrels of crude oil in one year, has thus worked out plans to set up a terminal in Kula and pass all deliveries within the area to the new terminal instead of passing it to the TNP to Bonny and face risks. The project is called Belema Sweet.
To launch the pre-qualifier to the FG for approval, Belemaoil Producing Limited mounted host communities’ engagement forum at the Hotel Presential witnessed by the chief executives of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) as well as the Federal Ministry of Environment.
Explaining the project, the Belema’s External Relations manager, Samuel Abel-Jumbo, said the idea was developed by Tein Jackrich, the Founder and CEO of Belemaoil Producing Limited, regarded as a worthy son of Kula.
He said Kula which juts into the Atlantic Ocean just like Bonny and Brass has everything needed to make it happen.
He went on: “The proposed terminal has unique advantages because all operators in that area would have to export through Belema Sweet (terminal). This is an attractive proposition.
“It is a huge asset and has huge benefits because Bonny has only one OML whereas Kula has about six. He named some of the benefits thus: “It will spill jobs (some experts say up to 500 at the first instance), developments, etc. There is 85km road to Kula spearheaded by Belemaoil which the terminal will boost. Bonny has made a road possible too, almost ready. This is what happens when you get a terminal. Belema Sweet Terminal will also attract road and other attention to Kula.
“Your own contribution as community leaders is to help this dream come to reality because if it succeeds, all of you will benefit.”
In a presentation on the sensitive project, Vincent Ajilo, CEO of Ajivin Nigeria Limited, said Belema lost 5.4m barrels of crude oil during the one year of shutdown due to inability to transport crude oil to the Bonny through the major pipeline. Other oil companies lost also, he said.
“This project (Belema Sweet) will stop the loss because the OMLs 55,24, 25,23, 18, and 29 will begin to export crude oil. The new terminal will process 50mscf per day of SPG (condensate) and CNG and fertilizer.
“Pipeline will come from Robertkiri base to export terminal at Agudamakiri. There has been one year now of no production in Belema oil fields and others. There will be crude oil and gas production. Kula will have full and regular power supply free like Bonny. There will no be cooking by firewood.”
He said the project would require dredging to be done in the area to allow the terminal be constructed. There will also be need for bush clearing job too for pipeline to run.
“There will be two million barrels of oil storage which will increase to six million capacity in case when there is glut as happened during COVID.”
He hinted by December 2023, the loading bay should be completed if things go according to plan. “There will be 18-inch pipeline running some 15 km. It will spill at least 500 jobs at the beginning. There would be training, power supply to Kula, GDP will be boosted, security in Kula sea-route will boost up, etc.”
In his appeal, the expert asked the host community people to give the project their blessing, and give support and security, and to cooperate with the contractors. “You know the place better. Let the youths take this seriously because opportunities are plenty. Already, 40 per cent of jobs are reserved to the communities.”
Earlier, Acting the managing director of Belemaoil, Collins Amadi, made it clear that the project and the entire Belemaoil company belong to Kula people. He also noted that the founder, their own son, always talks about nothing but his people. “You can make things happen’.
He reminded them that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is in existence to ensure that host communities got what was due them. He said the regulators were in attendance to hear and see the discussions directly.
The manager of host community affairs in the NMDPRA, Mrs Ngozi Asogwa, their job is to foster peace in host communities. She said Chapter three of the PIA was devoted to host communities to get maximum benefits.
She added that oil companies are under mandate to carry host communities along, but commended Belemaoil for their style.
She however noted that there hints of areas not carried along, insisting the Authority must ensure that all communities were happy. She said the monarchs talked and behave very well in the interactions.
The Minister of Environment was represented by the Chairman of Board of Hydrogen Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr Mike Nwilegha, who said the Ministry would ensure that all environmental regulations were obeyed.
He said the Kula people might be happy but that Ministry must look beyond what the community can look for.
He however said Kula people were blessed by the Belema Model. He said he wished to see a time in Ogoni when such model would be in place to create peace for oil operators to occupy space and operate.
Kings and chiefs from the area spoke glowingly and offered unfettered support to the success of the project, though some made some corrections and suggestions which the company promised to look into immediately.