President Goodluck Jonathan, who performed the ground breaking ceremony for the Gas Revolution Industrial Parks (GRIP) in Ogidigben and the Deep Sea Port in Gbaramatu, said the project is also expected to create about 150,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.
The President said the yardstick to measure the success of the project, would be the number of jobs to be created.
The park is expected to consist of industries, which would produce fertilizers, petrochemicals, methanol and other related products. This is expected to replace the nation’s dependence on crude oil.
It will also house four well scaled fertiliser projects which have the potential to make Nigeria the largest fertiliser exporter in the next four years.
The four well scaled fertiliser projects in various developmental stages in Nigeria include Indorama fertiliser, Dangote fertiliser, Nagajurna fertiliser and Brass fertiliser.
With this portfolio, Nigeria is now positioned to be Africa’s largest producer and exporter of fertilisers within the next four years, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Dieziani Alison-Madueke said, adding that Indorama would start production this year while the others would follow by 2017.
The ground breaking ceremony of the project came after series of postponements as a result of crisis between the Itsekiri and other groups in the Niger Delta.
Both kingdoms (Itsekiri and Gbaramatu) had been at war over where the Deep Sea Port, which was to be christened EPZ Ogidigben would be sited.
After series of peace talks and discussions it was finally agreed that the Istekiri kingdom would habour the GRIP while the Gbaramatu kingdom
houses the Deep Sea Port part of the project.
The Gas Industrial City Ogidigben and the Deep Sea Port, Gbaramatu have both been designated a free trade zone by the Federal Government.
President Jonathan expressed optimism that the project which is believed will be Africa’s biggest gas industrial hub, would be executed to international standard and attract many gas-related industries from across the world.
The President set up a special steering committee, headed by the minister of Petroleum Resources, which will brief the Federal Executive Council on the progress of the project every week.
The petroleum minister said the President had realising the transformation potentials natural gas could have on the economy,endorsed an accelerated implementation of a focused three-point agenda, which aims to translate wasteful gas flares into purposeful commercial use.
The three point agenda comprises gas to power, gas-based industrialisation and gas to export. She said the country has so far expanded its gas infrastructure as well as grown its gas supply to a current domestic gas supply capacity of approximately two billion cubic feet per day from approximately 300 million cubic feet per day a few years ago.
“Nigerians can be assured that very shortly the full benefits of of natural gas would become evident in our day to day lives as power improves, as the massive industrialisation of the nation takes off and as the resultant employment opportunities begin to blossom,” she said.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, noted that this was just one of the six parks that would be replicated across
the six geo-political zones of the country.
Aganga said his ministry will be in charge of driving the industrialisation activities of the park by attracting investments and implementing industrial policies. “It will also regulate all the enterprises located on the hub,” he said.