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Investment in oil & gas: Oborevwori’s bold move to boost Delta economy

In a move targeted at boosting the local economy, creating jobs and wealth for the people of the state, Delta State Government, Tuesday, signed the Shareholders Agreement, SHA, deal with Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL and UTM Offshore Limited for the construction of the first Floating Liquefied Natural Gas,FLNG project in Nigeria with a capacity of 1.8 billion metric tons per annum. 

 The agreement was signed on behalf of the Delta State by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kingsley Emu and witnessed by the Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Mr Omamuzo Erebe, while the Group Managing Director, Mr Julius Rone and the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mele Kyari signed for UTM Offshore Limited and NNPC Limited, respectively. 

 With the shareholders agreement UTM Offshore became the biggest investor in the project with 72 percent while NNPC Limited and the Delta State Government have 20 percent and eight percent stakes respectively. 

 Speaking at the signing ceremony in Abuja, Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori said the UTM FLNG Project was the first of its kind to be developed by an indigenous private company in Nigeria.

 He explained that the state government took eight percent stake in the project because of its conviction of the strategic importance of the project to the national economy. 

 He pointed out that with Delta hosting 40 percent of Nigeria’s proven gas reserve, investing in the project will bring many benefits to the state.

 According to him, “of particular interest to Delta State Government is the dividend that this UTM FLNG will generate, thus advancing the socio-economic development of our great state. It is expected that over 300,000 metric tonnes of LPG (cooking gas) will be produced and dedicated to the domestic market.

 “This project will also help to mitigate the environmental hazards in the Niger Delta by reducing gas flaring. Of course, our women folk will also benefit from the fuel switch from kerosene and firewood to cleaner energy, thus improving their health and general well-being.

 “Another benefit we envisage with this project is that it will create job opportunities for our youths, which is one of the four pillars of our MORE agenda”. 

 Earlier, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari commended the Delta State Government for not just being a promoter of gas development in the country but for also investing in gas projects. 

 “We are happy to collaborate with the Delta State Government in this venture. His Excellency is here in two capacities, one is that he is a supporter of growing gas utilization in the country and he is also now an investor in this necessary industry but potentially a valuable industry for all of us”, he added.

 He said NNPC was committed to ensure that the project was completed on time and on budget, saying gas would become the major economic driver for the country in the next few years. 

 Also speaking, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo noted that it was time for the country to begin the monetisation of its huge gas reserves for the development of the economy.

 In his remarks, Group Managing Director of UTM, Mr. Julius Rone said the signing ceremony marks another significant milestone in actualizing Nigeria’s first indigenous FLNG. 

 He commended the stakeholders for their support, especially the Delta State Government for investing in the project.

 “I want to thank the Delta State Government for taking an equity on this laudable project which will create other sources of revenue for the state to develop their infrastructure that is highly needed and create employment for the teeming youths of Delta State”, Rone stated. 

 On Wednesday December 20, Governor Oborevwori signed the State’s 2024 Appropriation Bill of N724,979,313,867 billion into law. The approved budget is made up of N316,624,462,711 recurrent expenditure while the sum of N408,354,851,156 is for capital expenditure. 

 While signing the budget tagged “Budget of Hope and Optimism”, Governor Oborevwori said the budget is geared towards putting the economy of the state on the path of sustainable growth. He remarked that the budget would boost both domestic and direct foreign investments and productivity and enhance the ease of doing business in the state. 

 He underscored the significance of the budget, adding that “the law provides a veritable foundation for the sustainable delivery of our social and economic pact – the MORE Agenda to the good people of Delta State”.  He commended the Speaker and members of the House of Assembly for their support and cooperation in the interest of the state. 

 In another development, Governor Oborevwori, Wednesday took out time out of his busy schedule to receive Samuel Erukoghene Okoro who cycled 1,200km in 10 days from Damaturu in Yobe State to Asaba to see him in appreciation of his good governance principles in Delta. 

 Welcoming the cyclist, Governor Oborevwori congratulated him for the successful journey and assured that he would continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to Deltans who entrusted him with their votes. 

 Also, Governor Oborevwori, Thursday, urged Nigerians to celebrate their parents while they are alive in order to make them happy and prolong their lives. He made the call at the 90th birth anniversary thanksgiving service for Mama Paulina Powder Ewherido at Mother of Redeemer Catholic Church, Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area. 

 Governor Oborevwori, who prayed for long life and good health for Mama Ewherido, said the government and people of the state would continue to join the Ewherido family to celebrate a life of forthrightness in which God has blessed her with. 

 Son of the celebrant and Catholic Bishop of Warri Diocese, Rt. Rev. Anthony Ewherido expressed appreciation to guests for honouring their invitation. While lauding Governor Oborevwori for leading the State Government delegation to celebrate with mama, Bishop Ewherido said as Prophets of God, they will continue to prick the conscience of leaders at all levels to ensure they continue to do the right thing for the progress and development of the people. 

 Furthermore, Governor Oborevwori, Wednesday, called on Media practitioners to adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession in the discharge of their duties. He made the call when the state leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Asaba. 

 The governor who congratulated the State chairman of the NUJ, Comrade Churchill Oyowe and other members of the executive on their victory at the Union’s election, urged them to work as a team for the general good of the union.  He said the vision of his administration was to carry media practitioners along in the scheme of things, promising to reposition the state owned media outfits to meet international standards.(THE NATION)

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