The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has inaugurated the Ikwe-Onna Modular Refinery in Akwa Ibom State.
Kachikwu, who commended the promoters of the $50million refinery, said the Federal Government was ready to support any private sector-driven venture.
Governor Udom Emmanuel and Science and Technology Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, and others witnessed the opening.
The governor lauded the management of the refinery for supporting his vision to industrialise the state.
The Chairman, Foreign Direct Investment Committee, Mr. Gabriel Ukpeh, represented the governor.
He said: “Government’s role is to provide social services and a conducive environment for industries to thrive. When the refinery is completed, it will provide employment and open up the area for other economic benefits.”
He urged youths in the community to cooperate with the contractors handling the project.
“We have endeavoured to keep our campaign promises by executing some laudable projects in infrastructure, agriculture and other areas,” he added.
Onu, who was also represented by an official of the Technology Incubation Centre, Mr. Ini Nya, urged those interested in refinery business to follow the due process set by the Federal Government.
The managing director of the company, Mr. Daminago Ogaji, explained that: “The refinery is 100 per cent owned by the Niger Delta and would serve as a Federal Government’s model for the entire area.
Ogali explained: “It is starting with a capacity of 5,000 barrels per day (BPD) and would be increased to 20, 000 barrels in its midterm until its target of 100,000 bpd is achieved.
“The model is different because we have brought in the community as co-partners who would be given 10 per cent of the company’s profit.”
On the issue of militancy, he explained that the local community was made a part owner to enable them work as a family.
“We also intend to train the local boys because a local content developed company would be set up to produce about 80 percent of the materials needed for the operations,” he said.
He explained that tank farms and pipelines are some of the things that would be produced locally, leaving about 30 per cent of the needed materials to be sourced from outside the state.
Chairman of the company, Bassey Rex, said: “The refinery would support the state’s government efforts to develop the state.