Cross River plans law to regulate oil and gas operations

19 September 2011, Sweetcrude, Calabar- The Cross River State government says it plans to enact a legislation to ensure best practices in the down stream sub sector of the petroleum industry in the state.

Governor Liyel Imoke stated this while performing the ground breaking ceremony of Portside Industrial Park (PIP) in Calabar. He said “government intends to pass legislation that will regulate the operations of tank farms in the park for the benefit of the people.”

According to the governor, the decision was borne out of the experience in other places where there are no legislations, a situation, heaid, created confusion and environmental hazard.

He noted that the state will partner investors to ensure, not only best practices are observed, but also that they do not take undue advantage of the people while ensuring that the project is successful through a public private partnership.

The project, meant for the industrialisation of the state, is designed according to internationally observed practices and in partnership with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), will facilitate the dredging of the Calabar channel as well as the expansion of Calabar Port, which arrangements have been concluded.

The governor posited that tank farms should not be located within Free Trade Zone but in an exclusive area because they create environmental hazards, as the state intends to install a 52 megawatt power plant to provide sufficient energy as well as undertake other steps to rehabilitate and maintain access roads to ensure investments in the project grow.

This is because all roads leading to the state are under pressure from the operations of quarries and a cement factory, which calls for a constitutional amendment because the state does not receive any benefit from environmental degradation.

In press release signed by Frank Inyang, on behalf of senior assistant media/chief press secretary to the governor, “the project is of significant for a number of reasons and is focused on improving the lives and wellbeing of the people by attracting investments to the state, particularly in the areas of energy, agriculture and tourism which are yielding fruits in heaps and bounds,” and he therefore called for a legislation to regulate development with the understanding for balance, growth, as well as maintain sustainable development.

Also, Gerald Addah, special adviser on investment promotion, said the Portside Industrial Project was borne out of the desire of the governor to develop a strong private sector driven economy by facilitating the development of the downstream petroleum sector in the state.

“This is to improve its economy in general while ensuring that the beautiful, serene environment of Calabar remains unbalanced and the emergent tourism industry in the state remains unfettered,” he stated.

Olaniyi Ogini, chief operating officer, Aikenback, in his remark, noted that the operation of tank forms in one centralised area would ease the process of ensuring compliance with applicable regulations and requirements, including those specified by the Department of Petroleum Resources, state ministry of environment, Federal Ministry of Environment, and state ministry of lands.

This will also allow for appropriate and efficient maintenance of all facilities that support the tank farm industry within Calabar he stated.

The project is expected to contribute to the state economy by bringing in N23 billion investments, increased revenue generation, create employment of not less than 3,000 and build technical capacity for the youth, and will be completed in the third quarter of 2012.

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