By Chioma Onuegbu
GOVERNOR Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has demanded the establishment of petroleum depots in the state, saying that a State sitting on 25 percent of Nigeria’s oil and gas reserve deserves at least a depot to rejig economy and open up job opportunities for the youths.
Emmanuel made the call on Friday evening when the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva led the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on a courtesy visit on him at Government House, Uyo.
He maintained that Akwa Ibom is strategically positioned in the Gulf of Guinea, and as such airlines should have no reason going to other West African countries to refuel or service their aircraft if the Federal government partners with the state for its rich natural potentials to be effectively utilized.
He explained that with the developments at the Victor Attah International Airport, the 21 storey smart building, good network of roads and other infrastructure, the state has been repositioned for a strategic role as a logistic center of the oil and gas sector.
His words, “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.
“The 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.
In his remarks earlier, Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and leader of the delegation who were on a strategic retreat in Uyo said the peaceful environment informed the choice of the state for the 2020 NNPC retreat.
Sylva, who described Akwa Ibom as his second home, being an inlaw of the state, assured that the federal government was committed to revamping the refineries in the country and disclosed that work on the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery would commence very soon.
” We have promised this country that we will rehabilitate at least one of these refineries within the shortest possible time. Myself and the team visited the Port-Harcourt refinery.
“We visited the refinery because the programme rehabilitation is about to begin and we hope that work on Port Harcourt refinery will start first quarter next year”, Sylvia added.
He expressed appreciation to the Governor and people of the state for the warm reception accorded him and the board members on their arrival in the state.