06 July 2015, Calabar – Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade and his Delta State counterpart, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, have inaugurated Fynefield Petroleum FZE’s ultra-modern 40 million-litre capacity petroleum product depot located at the Calabar Free Trade Zone in Cross-River State.
The world class facility which meets international standards, has a combined capacity of 40,734,724 litres with petrol storage capacity of 20,413,594litres, kerosene storage capacity of 10,157,073 litres and diesel storage capacity of 10,164,057 litres.
Inaugurating the deport, Ayade, expressed his excitement about the investment which he described as a significant milestone and a big boost to the Cross River and the nation’s economy in the areas employment opportunities and speedy distribution of products across the country.
The governor commended the management of Fynefield Petroleum FZE for choosing Cross River State as the location for the ultra-modern petroleum product depot, “we are very glad you choose to make this huge investment in Calabar, we can assure you that it is a very good decision.”
Speaking at the inauguration, the Managing Director, Fynefield Petroleum FZE, Mr. Gabriel Ogbechie, said the ultra-modern depot was built to enrich the distribution chain of petroleum products in the country as the deport will serve Cross River State, neighbouring states like Akwa Ibom, Abia, Imo, Taraba, Plateau, some states in the North-east and the northern part of the county at large.
He added that the investment which cost over N3 billion, is the company’s contribution to the economy of Cross River State in particular and the whole country in general, “this facility will provide direct employment for over fifty individuals and hundreds indirectly because tank trucks will come to the facility from all over the country to lift petroleum products.”
Ogbechie however disclosed that there are some challenges that comes with distribution of petroleum products in the areas which he highlighted saying: “We are being faced with some challenges doing business in this part of the country, the first I’ll mention is the road network, moving products from Calabar to other part of the country, the Calabar, Ikot Ekpene road can be better than what it is today, also the Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja road which takes products to the northern part of the country can be improved upon, we pray that His Excellency the Cross River State Governor in collaboration with the federal government will help fix the roads” he said.
According to him the second challenge petroleum depot operators face is the relative shallow daft in the Calabar River: “What we have is the comparative low draft of the Calabar River channel, the draft is 6.4m, it makes it difficult for vessels fully loaded with petroleum products to come to bed safely, we load 15,000 metric tonnes into vessels that have capacity to load 30,000 metric tonnes so that the vessels can berth, which increases the cost of doing business. We are appealing to his Excellency, Professor Ben Ayade, to help resolve these challenges.”
Delivering his goodwill message, the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, said the project is a huge investment to Cross River State which will provide employment for youths in the state and boost petroleum product distribution chain in the South-south and some northern part of the country.
Speaking on the challenges faced by depot operators in the area, the governor said: “My colleague, Professor Ben Ayade, is a business minded governor so he knows the importance of providing an enabling environment for business to thrive, though I know it is not easy, but I still plead with him to see how he can attend to some of the request made by Fynefield Petroleum FZE.”
Responding to the some challenges enumerated by the Managing Director, Governor Ayade said his administration is already working on them, “My administration is aware of some of the challenges that you have mentioned and we are already working on them.”
“I assure you that the evacuation corridor will no longer be a challenge, in no distant time the construction of 240 kilometre highway from Calabar down to Ikot Igoja will commence, the contract has been signed a few days ago,” he said.
He added: “On the issue of draft which I understand increases your cost of doing business because you are not able to load your vessels to full capacity; this government has thought it wise to set up a special task force to dredge the channel. In 18 months time, modern vessels will be able to birth in Calabar because we are commencing the construction of a deep see port.”