Efforts to actualise President Goodluck Jonathan’s gas revolution agenda were made this week when a team of experts and foreign investors arrived Koko in Warri North local government area of Delta State to commence preliminary site inspection of the planned petrochemical plant and gas processing facilities envisaged to be Africa’s largest industrial complex.

The group, which was led by the group executive director, gas and power of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. David Ige, includes experts from Xenel of Saudi Arabia, Nagarjuna of India, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Sahara Energy, Nigerian Ports Plc and officials of the Delta State government.

The massive undertaking, which is projected to gulp about $16 billion investment, entails the construction of 1.3million tonne per annum Polypropylene and Polyethylene plant to be built by Xenel in concert with NNPC and other investors.
Nagarjuna will construct three fertiliser plants each with capacity of 1.3 million tonnes per annum all to be located within the Koko Free Trade Zone. The India leading agro processing company will also build blending plants across the country including Delta State to ensure the blending of fertilisers to align with the soil requirements across the various agro zones in Nigeria.

The approach is expected to lead to improved yield which in turn will galvanise numerous agro and food processing industries around the locality of the blending plants, creating industrialisation in otherwise rural areas. Already the Chevron/NNPC JV is programmed to develop the gas to supply the fertiliser plants.

A statement yesterday by the NNPC spokesman, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, explained that the Koko petrochemical plant and fertilizer facilities will be supported by a massive Central Processing Facility (CPF), capable of processing one billion cubic feet of gas per day. This CPF alongside the others will be the brain-box for the whole industrialisation agenda.

“At these CPFs, wet gas from the wells will be gathered and processed, producing the dry gas and natural gas liquids that will be feedstock for the fertiliser, power and petrochemicals plants,” the statement said.

Speaking at the end of the preliminary aerial survey of the entire Koko Free Trade Zone, Dr. Ige said that the multibillion dollar CPF will be executed by some indigenous companies which include Oando and Sahara Energy alongside Shell, Chevron and the NNPC.

“This is the beginning of a massive industrial revolution not only for Delta state but the entire nation anchored on petrochemicals. Our expectations going forward is that over the next few weeks, NNPC in concert with the state government and the investors will move into top gear ahead of the planned engineering works in the months and years ahead,’’ Ige said.

Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, while expressing delight with the activation of the project, called on the federal government to accelerate the planned dredging of the Koko Port waterways to allow for the entrance of heavy vessels in good time for the takeoff of the project.

He, however, hinted that the State may be compelled to take up the dredging project on behalf of the federal government to fast-track the planned construction of the petrochemical plant, describing the Koko dream as a project capable of transforming the economic landscape of not only Delta state but the entire nation.

Matouq Jannah, head of the Xenel delegation and Kovvuri Dharudu, Vice President Commercial, Nagarjuna Fertilisers and Chemical Ltd, both expressed their companies’ readiness and commitment to see the project to a fruitful conclusion in line with the dreams and aspirations of the Nigerian government.