By Godfrey Bivbere & Olaitan Ayoola
THE proposed Ibaka deep sea port, Akwa Ibom, has been relocated to Ibeno Local Government Area, while the name has been changed to Ibom from Ibaka.
Vanguard gathered that the project analysis done by a foreign consultant and Transaction Advisers, FELAC Concept and Marine and Transport Business Solutions, MTBS, of Netherlands, showed that the port project would not be commercially viable if sited at Ibaka due to its long distance from the sea..
A source close to the Ministerial Steering and Delivery Committee for the port who spoke to Vanguard, explained that the project had to be moved initially to Okposo. The source further noted that the same problem of distance from the sea as well as the dense population, made it non-viable.
The source said that the soil analysis on Okposo showed that the earth there is marshy which would further drive up the cost of construction should it be sited there.
The source pointed out that the project had to be moved again to the third site at Ibeno Local Government Area and the name had to be changed from Ibaka to Ibom, like all other projects of the state to give it a state colouration.
The distance from the new site to the sea is about 20 nautical kilometres and also it is closer to the connecting expressway for quick evacuation of consignments from the port at completion, the source disclosed.
The source also said that the area is less populated, making compensation for displaced persons easy, as well as making the new site for the project commercially viable.
The transport ministry source said that one of the major challenges faced by the committee at the new site was the presence of under-ground oil pipelines.
The source explained that the Committee held several meetings with the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, and the various oil companies on how to work around the pipelines.
The oil companies agreed to relocate some of the pipelines that were no longer active away from the area to aid quick construction of the port.
The source explained that construction work on the project is expected to commence sometime next year on a Public, Private Partnership.
It added that a few little details left on the part of government would soon be taken care of for construction work to commence.
On financing, the source disclosed that the private sector is expected to have 60 percent while the Federal and state governments are expected to hold 20 percent each. According to the source, “No government can fund a port project but it can only be achieved through a Public/Private sector partnership.”
Foreign concerns are already making inquires on what is required to partake in the financing of the project.