Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel has made a case for the establishment of a petroleum depot in the state to boost his administration’s efforts to open up the state’s economy and provide employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the South-South state.
The governor made the call when the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, and members of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) visited him at the Government House in Uyo.
He said it is regrettable that the state, which is home to about 25 percent of the petroleum and gas deposits in Nigeria, does not have any petroleum depot.
Drawing the Minister’s attention to the fact that Akwa Ibom is strategically positioned in the Gulf of Guinea, Governor Emmanuel said by virtue of its location and the abundant human and natural resources embedded in its landscape, the state would be an investor’s heaven if the right policies are in place.
He urged the Federal government to partner with the state to harness its rich natural potentials for the benefit of the people.
Governor Emmanuel also advocated for the unbundling of the oil and gas sector to increase job opportunities and the rapid growth of the country’s economy.
The delegation is in Uyo for a strategic retreat by stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.
Describing the choice of Uyo for the strategic retreat as significant, the governor explained that with the developments at the Victor Attah International Airport, the 21-storey smart building, excellent security, a good network of roads and other infrastructure, the state has been repositioned for a strategic role as a logistic centre of the oil and gas sector.
“The new terminal building we are currently constructing has the most latest technology and intelligence facilities and when completed, will rank the best seen anywhere in West Africa,” he said.
Harping on the need for the partnership for modular refineries, Governor Emmanuel opined that, “modular refineries or petrochemicals should be totally liberated from whatever could be the bottlenecks to create more job opportunities and stimulate a whole lot of economic activities.”
He appealed to the Petroleum Resources management team to look into the vast untapped opportunities in the oil and gas sector with a view to unbundling it for job and wealth creation.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva had said that Akwa Ibom was chosen as the venue for the retreat because of the peaceful environment and rich cultural heritage of the people.
Sylva, who described Akwa Ibom as his second home, being an inlaw of the state, commended the Governor and his people for the peace and developments so far recorded.
He said the federal government was committed to revamping the refineries in the country and assured that work on the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery would commence very soon.
“I and the team went to River State to look at the Port Harcourt refinery; we have promised this country that we will rehabilitate at least one of these refineries within the shortest possible time.
“We visited the Port Harcourt refinery because the programme rehabilitation is about to begin and we hope that work on Port Harcourt refinery will start first quarter next year,” he added.