History was made on August 30, 2012 when President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned the production of oil at the Orient Petroleum Resources (OPR) Plc’s Anambra River production facility, at Aguleri Otu in Anambra state, thereby launched Anambra state into the elite club of the nation’s oil producing states.
The company, according to its Managing Director, Chief Emeka Nwawka, an engineer, is currently stock-piling the extracted crude in large barges at Nsugbe-Umuleri site of its refinery in Anambra East council of the state, ahead of the coming on full stream of the refinery in a few months time.
The Chief Executive also confirmed that two meetings had been held with the representatives of the Enugu state Government on June 21, 2012 and July 31, 2012, attended by the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Patrick Okolo(represented by his Permanent Secretary, Mr Eze O. Eze), the Attorney General, Chief Anthony Ani and the chairman of the Uzo-Uwani LGA Chief Cornell Onwubuya on one part and the company on the other. At these meetings, “issues raised by some negative rumours and commentaries over the location of the oil well being produced by OPR and the area of 2158 km2 covered by OPR’s operations were resolved to the satisfaction of the Enugu state representatives. The Enugu Attorney General, Chief Ani at the end of the second meeting in July, expressed satisfaction that no further clarification was required from OPR.
Nwawka stated that the two oil blocks, OPL-915 and 916, covering an area of 2158km2, extend a little into Edo, Delta and Enugu states, while the bulk is in Anambra state.
The Federal Government had granted the oil blocks to the company in 2002, from when after studying and analyzing the seismic data thereto, they decided to proceed with its full development. The actual oil drilling process which commenced few months ago began with their re-entry of the Anambra River 1 well in OPL-915,which had first been drilled about 45 years ago by the SAFRAP(which later became Elf , and later again to Total Plc)
The detailed engineering, sourcing of the modules, site acquisition, perimeter and topographical surveys amongst other surveys as well as site civil engineering works of the refinery have been completed, according to the OPR boss.
The Managing Director also confirmed that the installation of the modules have been planned in two phases. That while the Phase One with a 20,000bpd capacity would be ready next year(2013), when it’s expected that the whole project whose journey began in 2002 would have gulped more than Two hundred and fifty million dollars ($250m). The Phase two with 35,000 bpd capacity would be ready the following year in 2014. It was therefore expected that when fully completed to installed output capacity of 55,000bpd in 2014 it would have taken about $600m.
Nwawka stated that with the commencement and the anticipated enhanced cash flow from the initial module, the company would be able to invest in the second module without recourse to additional borrowing.
Orient Petroleum Resources Plc, with the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyoku as its chairman remains a privately owned venture set up in 2001. Its shareholding base extended very widely to all parts of the country. They include some respectable Nigerians, the 21 Local Government councils of Anambra state, and some state governments like Rivers and Anambra amongst others who are minority shareholders.
The license to construct a refinery was granted by the FG in 2002 and with due operational diligence OPR secured the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate in 2005. Thus became the first to be so certified in the country’s oil sector.
He pointed out that both the Enugu and Kogi state governments are still considering investing in the company. He confirmed that investment in the company remains open through private placement and that OPR has more than 3000 shareholders in its books.
According to him, Orient is just a purely Nigerian company doing business in Anambra and other states of the nation.
While confirming that Orient is still searching for and prospecting oil within Enugu and Kogi states as embodied in their OPL 915 and 916 oil blocs with the mind to go to any such location/s to drill, irrespective off the number of locations.
Reacting to the storm of controversies presently coming from Kogi and Enugu states over the new success story of Orient (OPR), the Anambra state Commissioner for Information and Culture, Chief Joe-Martins Uzodike waved the reported comments from some citizens of the two states as non-issue. According to him, as far as the Anambra state government is concerned none of those comments exist because they are neither official nor from their state governments, irrespective of the persons talking.
He pointed out that the project was initiated by the administration of the former Gov Chinwoke Mbadinuju (1999-2003), driven by his Commissioner for Special Duties then, late Chief Mrs Uzo Obi-Okoli in 2001. She organized an international Investors’ Forum in September, 2001 at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
Uzodike confirmed that the administration of Dr Chris Ngige followed up on the project by investing One Hundred million (N100m) on behalf of the state. The incumbent administration of Obi went a lot further by investing a whopping Four Billion, four Hundred million naira (N4.4bn) also. He admitted that no one invests that kind of money outside his area. When the company floated its shares on the stock market it sold for N100, 000 each, applicable in multiples of ten.
He emphasized that “Aguleri-Out location of the oil well marked as OPL-915 on the oil bloc seismic map granted to the Orient Petroleum Resources Plc by the FG is in Anambra East council of the state. It is not in any dispute. That was the exact location Mr President’s helicopter landed on August 30.
There were no Delta, Edo, Kogi or Enugu people there because it was far away from their villages. The boundaries were clear. It’s apparent that all the commentators were paid rabble rousers and trouble makers who want to make issues out of nothing.
Also, yesterday Gov Obi made a broadcast on the raging controversy where he highlighted the government’s position which was in consonance with the position of Orient. He cautioned every one to guard their utterances for the sake of peace and good neighbourliness.
Anambra state citizens wondered why Kogi and Enugu state governments appear to be sponsoring crusade of calumny against the project. Or why they refused to write the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, the Minister of and the Ministry of Petroleum on the issues instead of merely stoking crises with inflammatory comments from their homes and hamlets. More so how com none of the two state governments bothered to invest in something they want the world to be so dear to their hearts whereas others from far away staked their millions and they now sit outside to claim on empty grounds.
They also wondered why none of the commentators deemed it necessary to formally write the National Boundaries Commission and or the office of the Surveyor General of the Federation for copy of the boundary map, and if they did, why did have they not availed their audience the situation. Both offices have records of the boundaries.