The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) is set to break new grounds with plans to license another Oil and Gas Free Zone in Delta State. After an inspection visit on Thursday to the proposed free zone, which is located in Okitigbo in Warri North, the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr Umana Okon Umana, announced that he was impressed with the level of physical development of the proposed free trade hub and the readiness of its promoters, Awaritse Nigeria Limited (ANL), to acquire an oil and gas free zone status for it.
Umana informed the promoters of the proposed free zone that they would have to comply with a set of requirements from OGFZA, after which a recommendation would be forwarded to the President to grant the facility a licence to operate as an oil and gas free trade zone. He noted that the proposed free zone is into both upstream and downstream activities in the oil and gas sector, as he commended the management of ANL for keying into the drive by the Federal Government for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
Umana said he was pleased that the project was a 100 per cent Nigerian initiative, and expressed the hope that the Koko Port, which is near the project site, would be integrated into it in the future.
In a presentation to the OGFZA team, Secretary and Legal Adviser to the board of ANL, Desmond Dudu, said the proposed free zone sits on a land area of 87, 044 hectares with a plan to increase it by another 80, 000 hectares. Dudu also said that based on discussions with prospective foreign investors who are only waiting for the zone to be licensed before coming in, adding the project would attract more than $100 million in FDIs in the first instance, as the free zone is expected to generate 2,170 direct and indirect jobs on completion.
Umana and his team were taken on a facility tour of the proposed free trade zone by the acting managing director of ANL, Mr Emmanuel Ebosa.
Among facilities inspected during the tour were a jetty, a tank farm, a fabrication yard where a barge under construction, a site for a modular refinery and security infrastructure.