There are indications that Amakpe Refinery in Eket, Akwa Ibom which construction was abandoned due to disagreement between the Akwa Ibom State government and the promoters over funding may resume soon as the state government was said to have opened discussion with the management of the company.
Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Petroleum Pricing Monitoring Committee (PPMC), Obong Essien Esema stated this yesterday in an interview with Atlantic FM radio, Uyo. Obong Esema who was speaking on measures taken by the Akwa Ibom State government to end the perennial fuel crisis in the state said he was aware that Governor Udom Emmanuel had opened discussion with the promoters of Amakpe Refinery to enable the company come on board Esema noted that the state government had an issue with Amakpe Refinery which the immediate past administration could not resolve.
The Sensor recalls that Amakpe Refinery was initiated by two citizens of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Usua Amana and Dr. Nsidibe Ikpe in 2003.
The 12, 000 barrels per day modular plant was designed to produce gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel and fuel oil.
According to the promoters of the refinery, the first phase was estimated to cost $32.4m (US Dollars). Akwa Ibom State government initially provided land as a facilitator of the project, but later acquired 25 per cent shares in the company and paid $1m (US Dollars) as its shares.
Following delay by the company to commence work on the refinery, the Akwa Ibom State government under, Obong Victor Attah instituted a suit in court against Amakpe Refinery demanding the refund of government shares in the company.
The case was inherited by then Governor Godswill Akpabio in 2007 when he assumed office. On 25th October, 2007, the Akwa Ibom State government issued a statement through the office of the state deputy governor and signed by then state Commissioner of Information, Mr. Census Ekpu stopping the ground breaking ceremony of Amakpe Refienry which was to be performed by the then Vice-Presisent, Goodluck Jonathan on October 27, 2007.
According to the press statement, government explained that it took the action until the promoters of Amakpe Refinery concluded discussion with the state government over state’s funds in their possession as well as the government stake in the project.
Again, in 2011, the Akwa Ibom State government through the then deputy governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere gave the promoters of Amakpe Refinery ultimatum to refund government shares in the company even as it warned interested investors to keep off the company until all pending issues regarding funding of the company were resolved.
The reporter notes that the land which the state government acquired for the location of Amakpe Refinery along Eket – Oron road had remained fallow and overgrown by weed as there was no activity at the site.
Meanwhile, Obong Esema had stated that three refineries are to be sited in the state, adding that already work was on going in one of the refineries located along Eket – Ibeno road.
He also said the federal government had given the Akwa Ibom State government license to construct a jetty in Ikot Abasi.
He said under a Public Private Partnership, the state government was collaborating with private investors to build three fuel depots in the state.
The Senior Special Assistant said two of the depots would be located in Ikot Abasi while one would be in Mbo. He said one of the depots in Ikot Abasi is located in Uta Ewa. He assured that when the tank farms and the refineries begin operation, there would not be fuel scarcity in the state again.