By Sylvia Akpan, Government House Correspondent
The Cross River State Government is partnering with an indigenous firm, UTM Floating LNG Project, to launch Africa’s first Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) plant in Nigeria as part of its drive for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The State is to host the onshore operational support base of the over 1.5 million tonnes, multi-billion LNG project because of its proximity to the location of the plant for the contractor Messrs JGC Holdings Corporation.
Speaking at the ceremony which took place at the Government House, Calabar, Wednesday, the State Governor, Senator Prince Bassey Out, who was visibly excited at the entry of the investors, promised the collaboration of his administration in actualizing the project.
In a press statement made available by Governor Otu’s Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Ogbeche, the elated governor said, “I am happy that the company has chosen Cross River State as its logistics base because at some point we had many companies operating from here but for whatever reason they had to move, we want all of them back and operational again.
“Cross River State is very rich in terms of hydrocarbon with huge gas resources which we intend to fully exploit during the life span of my administration.
“Providing job opportunities to over 3, 000 unemployed in the State is such a huge achievement. If there is anything we are earnestly looking forward to now is to provide employment to our teeming youths.
“We seriously need to grow the economy. We have set a target for ourselves with machinery in motion to double our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an attendant increase in internally generated revenue in the next four years.
“So, you are not going to do only offshore, I believe that by the time our designated blocs are out, you will love to take good advantage by exploring it.”
While assuring the company of their safety, the governor said, “I am glad that you are one of the first fortunate firms to key into our business portfolio on time because the destination for business in this dispensation is definitely going to be Cross River State.
“Let me assure you that the government will give you the maximum support needed to execute the project, and in terms of security and other areas, we guarantee you this.
“Cross River State still remains the safest subnational you can think of in this country, and we are building a formidable economy that you are fortunate to be one of the pioneers with enormous benefits.
“I am particularly happy to know that you are deploying your expertise in this direction in making sure that you capture all the flaring and wasted gas resources in this area and we will partner with you to succeed.
“What we used to worry about in my days in parliament was gas flaring. Apart from us losing money, it is also poisoning the atmosphere, which is dangerous to the ecosystem. So, I am happy that your operation is green and we welcome you wholeheartedly to our State.”
Earlier, the Managing Director of UTM (Nig) Limited, Dr. Julius Rone, in the company of his Japanese and German partners, disclosed that the delegation was in the State for site assessment for the setting up of an onshore operations support base for its contractor, Messrs JGC Holdings Corporation of Japan, on the UTM Floating LNG Project.
According to the MD, the project is the first of its kind in Nigeria and the first time such a project is being developed by an indigenous private African company.
He maintained that FLNG which will be anchored offshore Akwa Ibom, not far from the Yoho Platform in OML 104 being operated by Exxon Mobil, when completed will produce on an annual basis, 1.5 million tonnes of LNG for export, 300,000 metric tonnes of LPG for the domestic market and some quantities of condensate.