*promises FG assistance to oil sector investors
Anambra state yesterday became the latest oil producing state in the country when President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned the production of oil at the Aguleri, facility of the Orient Petroleum Resources (OPR), Ltd.
The drilling of oil at the facility which became productive few months ago was the high point of the journey which began in 2002 when the Federal Government granted license to the company to establish and approval to construct a 55,000bpd refinery.
According to the visibly elated President Jonathan, “the good of today is not just for the people of Anambra state or Orient Petroleum Resources, but for the entire nation. Anambraa basin has a lot of gas that would be explored…” He therefore called investors in the sector to come in, but not just to export the crude but to refine the product and add value to it as people who add value to it makes more money than those who export just raw crude. He commended Orient for going ahead to pioneer the initiative, by even diversifying into refining of products.
He noted that the transformation agenda of his administration encourages private partnership assuring that the FG would support Orient to succeed. At this juncture, he formally announced the admission of Anambra state as the latest oil producing state in the federation.
President Jonatthan jocularly pointed out that as his helicopter touched down and he saw the blazing flames from gas flaring he then believed the oil production was true, real and was no deceit at all. While the site of large barges containing the produced crude was indeed very reassuring.
He admitted that “the vision of Orient to diversify and venture into refining is the way to go. And challenged other investors in the sector to emulate them.
That it was reason the transformation agenda of the administration was private sector driven, as the governments would not do it alone. He said the government was already working out ways to assist companies like Orient to go further.
He said that with the discovery of oil in Anambra basin, Anambra state has now joined the league of oil producing states, as its newest member. And that with that, “The flag of Resource Control is now flying in Anambra state”. He thanked the management team of OPR led by its board chairman and former Secretary General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyoku for the feat”, Mr President stated.
Gov Peter Obi in his remark described the event as “historical which was due to the resilience and perseverance of the management of Orient”. That the state today became an oil producing and is pioneering it through private sector initiative in the country.
Anyoku pointed out that due diligence has been taken by the company in every step of their operations and over every form of community relations and has in conjunction with the state government set up a conflict resolution committee to nip all communal disagreements.
He said they have already been stockpiling the crude in readiness for the first phase of their refinery coming on next year.
The Minister said the FG is giving attention to the nation’s inland sedimentary basin as well as finding ways to support local investors in the oil sector. She promised to assist the Orient succeed as the first indigenous inland oil prospector.
Jonathan who came early afternoon aboard white airforce helicopter marked NAF-541 escorted by another painted in airforce fatigue colour reg NAF-571 and another reg NNPC 5N-AQL painted with the NNPC stripes, along with a retinue of his Ministers including Finance, and petroleum resources was received by Senator chris Ngige, Gov Obi, Anyoku, former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, former Gov Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju, former CBN governor Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Prof Dora Akunyili. He left straight to Onitsha where he commissioned some private sector projects.