Sambo commissions Onne port project

Vice President Namadi Sambo was at Onne Port Complex on Friday where he commissioned Phase 4 projects of the port and performed the ground breaking ceremony of Phase 4B.

The Federal Executive Council earlier in the year approved $2.9 billion (about N490 billion) for the construction of Phase 4 of the Onne Oil and Gas Port in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The projects, awarded to Deep Offshore Services Nigeria Limited, include development of eight berths, beginning from 12 to 19, reclamation of 600 hectares of swampy land, 15.5km port roads and other port facilities with a span of six years.

Speaking at the formal unveiling of the facilities on Friday, Sambo said the projects were a demonstration of the federal government’s partnership with private sector in deep offshore oil and gas development.

He said: “Investors have every reason to have confidence in this administration and are urged to key into government’s effort. The Onne Free Trade Zone for oil and gas export is not only the biggest hub for oil and gas business, but also the fastest growing free trade zone in the world, which has provided about 50,000 jobs.

“With this, we see that the future of maritime is very bright and we are confident that the zone will continue to attract more investors.”

Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar said with all the port facilities for oil and gas trade now in place at the Onne Port Complex, all cargoes must be discharged at NPA designated terminals, without such excuses that encouraged oil theft.

“Nigeria will no longer tolerate illegal oil and gas activities, which lead to loss of income,” he said.

He urged all concessionaires to give maximum support to a committee set up by federal government to monitor trade in the zone.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, on his part said the Onne port projects clearly showed that the private sector is confident of President Jonathan’s administration.

He noted that Onne is the largest free trade zone in the world and supervised by his ministry.

“At a total cost of $3 billion for phases 4 and 4B, with about $2.8 billion for Phase 4B alone, the later project is indeed a game changer expected to support unprecedented oil and gas operations and will make the zone to become Africa’s first full scale oil and gas industrial city. With these projects, we are mobilising unprecedented level of investment into Nigeria.

“Already, the Onne oil and gas FTZ has attracted 160 companies, which have invested about $8 billion, with over 50,000 people directly employed,” Aganga said.

Also speaking at the event, chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees and chairman of the Board of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Tony Anenih, noted that the phase 4 of the project began in May 2013 and was completed nine months before deadline.

“The projects are meant to meet increasing demand of companies in the oil and gas sector and are in consonance with the federal government’s transformation agenda. The projects will boost revenue being generated in the sector,” he said.

The event was graced by chairman senate committee on special duties, Marcus Ikisikpo, the Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Uche Secondus as well as stakeholders in the maritime industry.

The project has a completion period of six years and a concession period of 25 years. Deep Offshore Services Nigeria Limited will amortize the $2.9 billion project cost from service boat and other port charges.

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