- Akwa Ibom to Partner Private Investors on Construction of $6b Harbour
The Akwa Ibom State Government has said it would partner with private investors towards building an harbour worth $6 billion to serve as logistics and supplies centre for oil and gas activities.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Petroleum Matters to Governor Udom Emmanuel, Obong Essien Esema disclosed this on Wednesday at Ikot Abasi Local Government area of the state after inspecting sites for the proposed harbour.
Esema said that at the moment three private investors had indicated interest to build a world class harbour in the state.
He said that the harbour would have logistics and supplies centre with jetties for oil and gas operations, waiting lounge, warehouses, offices and helipad.
Esema lamented that ExxonMobil and its subsidiary companies operating in the state were being serviced from far away Onne in Rivers because of absence of logistics centre in the state.
The governor’s aide, who inspected undeveloped jetties at Eket, Ibeno and Ikot Abasi local government areas, said that the maritime potential of the state had not been tapped over the years.
His words: “The state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, is interested in this project, the project is viable. I came with some officials from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to see how the state can enjoy full operations of the agency here.”
Esema, whose office also oversees Akwa Ibom State Local Content Compliance Monitoring Committee, said that building harbour in the state would boost employment of indigenes and yield revenue to the government.
Hear him: “This harbour will boost employment of our people in the seafaring and stevedoring business at the port.”
Also, the Chief Maritime Labour Officer at NIMASA, Mr Lawal Abdullahi, said that Akwa Ibom as at now had no registered and recognised jetty.
Abdullahi noted that NIMASA was aware that there were some persons operating illegal jetties in the state.
He said: “The state has very vast potential and lot of untapped maritime resources. NIMASA is interested to expand its operational office here. Today’s visit is an opener. We have seen the illegality going on here and the revenue leakages.”
He promised that the agency would liaise with the state government to make maritime operations viable in the state.
The German operator of Anchor Marine Services at Ikot Abasi local government area, Mr Wolfgang Hems, said that the state had enough potential to float many viable jetties.
Hems, who is the General Manager of Anchor Marine Services, said that the distance from Ikot Abasi to oil platforms offshore was only 18 nautical miles.
He said that it was costly and risky to run logistics from Onne in Rivers State, which is 80 nautical miles from oil platform offshore.