EXXONMobil, Other Investors Jostle to Invest in Akwa Ibom State Liberty Oil & Gas Free Zone

MD, OGFZA Commends AKSG

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Umana Okon Umana MD, Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority

EXXONMobil and other investors have indicated interest in participating at the proposed oil and gas free zone in Akwa Ibom state, even as the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) has commended the Akwa Ibom State government on the efforts to build and secure a licence for the proposed Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone in Ikot Abasi. Reviewing progress of work on the proposed free zone after receiving a briefing from the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone Joint Implementation Committee at the end of a review meeting in Uyo, managing director of OGFZA, Mr Umana Okon Umana, said he was impressed at the pace and level of mobilisation and promotion by the state government to attract investors to the project.
At the review meeting, chairman of the implementation committee, Mr Gabriel Ukpeh, who is also the special adviser to Akwa Ibom State governor on foreign direct investment, gave timelines for meeting key paperwork requirements on the project as well as insight into important engineering and technical works concluded and scheduled to be done.
Ukpe reported that a preliminary aerial survey and a temporary access road to the 50,000-hectare site for the proposed free zone have been completed. He explained that the dredging of the sea that will serve the shipping needs of the project is awaiting full consultation with the host communities across Akwa Ibom and the neighbouring states since the impact of dredging cuts across state boundaries.
The committee chairman announced 2 May as deadline for concluding all paperworks required for the licensing of the free zone. Site inspection of the proposed free zone area by OGFZA, the licensing authority, is scheduled for the third week of April.
A member of the committee, Engr. Ufot Ebong, who is the special adviser to the state governor on technical matters, said the number of international investors that have indicated interest to bring investments into the Liberty Free Zone was large, including Exxonmobil, who he added, has made a request for a dedicated terminal in the proposed free zone. He did not give further details and more specifics. Ebong also said the case of property owners within the area acquired for the free zone would be addressed either through integration into the project or relocation from the project site.
He said the Akwa Ibom State government is working with a consortium of consultants to mobilise investments into the free zone. The consortium, he said, is led by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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