The dream of becoming oil producing area and therefore entitled to more funds from the federation account is gradually translating to reality for more states outside the traditional oil-rich southern Nigeria. Some states in the northern part of the country are also warming up to join the league of oil producers.
Anambra State, in the South East zone, yesterday became the latest oil producing area in the country when President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned the production of oil at the Aguleri, facility of the Orient Petroleum Resources (OPR) Plc.
Recently, oil was reportedly found in Sokoto State in the North West zone. And now, Kogi is warming up to join the league as Governor Idris Wada said oil wells had been discovered and were being explored in Odeke community in Ibaji Local Council of the state.
The unveiling of the multi-billion dollar Orient Petroleum’s production facilities in Anambra was also historical as it emerged the first oil production from an inland basin in the country.
At the official commissioning, President Jonathan said the production had opened a new vista of opportunities for Anambra indigenes and the country. He lauded the integrated style of production adopted by the board and management of Orient.
Calling on other operators to emulate the local company, the President expressed confidence that the model, when replicated widely, would end the era of gas flaring and environmental degradation in oil producing communities.
Jonathan noted that production and refining “is the right way to go” as the country aspires to get more value from its petroleum resources and create more jobs for its citizens. When the country refines, the President said, it would be able to meet local consumption and export refined products to other countries.    Increasing refining capacity, he said, is a critical part of the administration’s transformation agenda. He promised that the government would support companies that have genuine intention to explore opportunities in the refining segment of the industry.
President Jonathan was optimistic that the exploration of the Anambra Inland Basin oil would accelerate the desire to begin production in other basins in the country, just as he said the government would support every move in that regard.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said the ministry would extend support to the country’s indigenous oil firms to increase their capacity to compete favourably in the local sector and to harness opportunities at global market. She was not, however, specific about the kind of support the local firms would get from the ministry.
During a media interactive session, the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth said Orient, in conjunction with the state government, had set up a conflict resolution committee to ensure that communal crises arising from its operations are amicably settled for the benefit of all.
Anyaoku, who could not hide his excitement about the development, said the flare from the oil well at the site of the commissioning ceremony would end soon as the company had put in place robust strategies to convert gas for proper use.
He predicted that the refining arm, which is billed to start operation before the end of next year, would turn out 20,000 barrels per day of finished products by end of 2013. He pledged that the wholy-indigenous firm has come to add value to the oil and gas sector.
Anyaoku said the ownership conflict among Anambra, Kogi and Enugu states on the oil field had been fully resolved after a recent meeting with Enugu State government, and that bulk of the crude is in the Anambra territory. He stressed that the company would be ready to discuss with any state where it finds oil in commercial quantity.
With Rivers, Kogi and Anambra already part of the ownership of the facility, the elder statesman told the media that other states had indicated interest to own a stake in Orient, which the managing director, Nnemeka Nwawka, said would be listed in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in due course.
In an exclusive chat, Nwawka said the asset of the oil firm was far above $20 billion, and that the company had enjoyed reasonable goodwill from host communities and the government.
Kogi State Governor Wada, who spoke through his Deputy, Yomi Awoniyi, at the inauguration of the new refinery, said his state would be a major stakeholder, considering the recent discovery and exploration of oil wells in Odeke community.
While stressing that the state was doing everything humanly possible to resolve the issues surrounding the location of the oil wells with the contending states, he commended Orient Petroleum for the bold initiatives adding that the nation’s economy can only receive the necessary and needed boost when indigenes invest in the nation.

No comments:

Post a Comment