By Sunday Bassey
Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said the Federal Government had approved the establishment of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), oil and gas logistic Centre in Akwa Ibom.
Sylva gave the hints at a Gala night organised by the Akwa Ibom Government in honour of a delegation of Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry retreat in Uyo on Saturday.
He said the FG would partner the State Government to build a base and the base would be the first in Akwa Ibom.
He urged the governor to set up a team to work with the NNPC in drawing up modalities for the collaboration.
“I have the full support of NNPC to announce to you that we are very interested to partner you to build a base here. It will be the first here.
“It has also approved immediate establishment of an oil and gas logistics facility in the state,” Sylva said.
He noted that the visit was a response to Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s efforts in maintaining peace and security in the state.
“Few concerns were raised on the choice of Akwa Ibom for our retreat, but politics was not part of the consideration.
“As we go back, work will start in ernest. Mr President has already helped by signing a free trade zone status for that area.
“We went all the way to Ibaka, a very interesting and painstaking journey. Some people in my team were excited because it was a rare experience using the boats,” the Minister said.
He said that the Federal Government again commended the governor for his efforts at maintaining peace and security in Akwa Ibom.
Sylva also announced approval for a partnership deal for the establishment of a petroleum depot by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.
On the 21 Storey Smart Building being executed by the Governor, he said the NNPC was already considering taking some aspects of the corporation for accommodation in the building.
He explained that President Buhari does not play politics with development, hence his initiatives in Akwa Ibom, despite being a PDP state, and urged for more support to him.
“We request that you cooperate with the President so that the weight of governance on him would be lighter,” Sylva explained.
Earlier, Gov. Emmanuel expresed appreciation for the planned NNPC oil and gas logistics centre for the state.
Emmanuel proposed that the groundbreaking be done in Sept. to mark the state’s 33rd anniversary.
He commended the delegation for the stress in going all the way to assess the site at Ibaka.
He also disclosed that President Buhari approved a 50,000 hectares oil and gas free trade zone in Akwa Ibom.
Emmanuel urged the minister to partner the state for the 540 megawatts Qua Iboe Power Plant project.
He further used the occasion to urge the relocation of multinational oil giants, ExxonMobil to its host state.
He added that his administration had built a lot including building a 21 storey intelligence building named “Dakkada Towers” and housing estates which could effectively serve the company and its workers.
“I want the Honourable Minister to make just a statement and ExxonMobil will be here. They are not safer where they are than in Akwa Ibom. Akwa Ibom is peaceful.
“We are ready to support the relocation. ExxonMobil is a very difficult corporate citizen but the Minister can give them directive to come here.
“They process over 15 billion barrel from our shores and that alone should propel them.
“They don’t have such excellent production anywhere else in the world,” Emmanuel said.
He also expressed his readiness to provide support ranging from land and electricity for an NNPC depot in the state.
Emmanuel faulted the NBS statistics of unemployment for the state and announced that a car assembly and manufacturing plant and other projects gearing up in the state would generate massive employment opportunities for the state.