By Akinola Ajibade
President Goodluck Jonathan has directed that a $500 million oil and gas investment project be relocated from LADOL Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Lagos to Agga in Bayelsa State, The Nation learnt yesterday.
The project is a partnership between LADOL Integrated Logistics Enterprise and Samsung Heavy Industries, Korea.
The two companies are to build fabrication and integration yards for Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility for the use of local and foreign-owned oil companies.
The multi-million dollar project is in phases, and billed to be completed in the next five years.
The project is said to have reached an “advanced stage” before Jonathan issued a directive that it should be relocated.
The directive, contained in two letters dated April 27, was signed by Mr A.B Mohammed, a general manager with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Mohammed signed the letters on behalf of the NPA Managing Director, Sanusi Ado Bayero, who is believed to be a stakeholder in Intel, an oil and gas logistics firm in Rivers State– an allegation he has denied in newspaper advertorials.
The letters read: “Pleased be informed that Mr President has vide PRES/99/MT/2/22 of April 20 approved the FPSO project be relocated to Agga in Bayelsa State when the facilities to handle such operations are developed.
“In addition, the project can be conveniently located at any designated oil and gas terminal. Please be informed that Mr President has approved, henceforth, all oil and gas related cargoes must be handled only in the designated terminals in Onne, Warri and Calabar Ports.
The letters added: “In view of this, vessels coming to Nigeria with oil and gas related cargoes, excluding petroleum products, are advised to first go to the appropriate concessioned terminals to be cleared by Customs and other relevant authorities, terminal operators and shipping firms.”
The Managing Director, LADOL Integrated Logistics Enterprise, Dr Amy Jayesinmi, said the timing of the letters was wrong.
She said the directive was ill-conceived, and capable of destroying the gains made by the partners in the project.
She said the directive to relocate the project to Bayelsa was part of efforts to destroy the potential local operators who are bent on deepening their participation in the oil and gas sector.
She said the letter was diversionary in content, advising stakeholders not to allow their attention to be distracted.
Mrs. Jayesinmi said efforts were being made by oil and gas operators to build one of the biggest floating vessels in the world, as well as making Nigeria the oil and gas hub in West Africa, adding that nothing would frustrate that efforts.
She added: “We got the two letters the same day: a day after the appointment of the new MD of NPA. I want to make it clear that we (LADOL) do not have problems with NPA because they are using our facility.
“NPA has an office in LADOL Free Trade Zone. NPA had severally said LADOL is the largest private investor in its facility. By the end of 2017, LADOL would have invested $500million in NPA facility. Technically, it is not appropriate for the project to be relocated to Bayelsa, the President’s home state.’’