The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has said his administration is working hard to make Bayelsa the hub of oil and gas industry in Nigeria and Africa, similar to the position of Houston in the United States.
He said being the historical headquarters of oil and gas in Nigeria and Africa, Bayelsa deserves to be the Houston of Nigeria and Africa.
A press statement signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Francis Agbo, noted that the governor was speaking on Tuesday during a session with the NNPC at the ongoing Onshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, USA.
The governor stressed that making Bayelsa the Houston of Africa is realisable if the NNPC GMD, Maikanti Baru, and the critical players in the oil and gas sector collaborate with his government.
He recalled that Bayelsa participated fully in last year’s OTC, which updated knowledge of his government in the oil and gas sector and helped it make more far reaching policy decisions.
Mr Dickson said the state government has also embarked on more critical projects in the sector to effectively market the state to potential investors.
He said his government has created the enabling environment for investments, including investments in the oil and gas sector to thrive in Bayelsa State as well as guarantee a high return on all investments.
The governor averred that the state is safe and peaceful for investments and called on potential investors to make the littoral state their choice destination.
He said Bayelsa State has over 30 per cent of the of the gas reserves in Nigeria, stressing that, for anyone thinking about investment opportunities in gas, ‘‘where to go is clearly Bayelsa and there is no doubt about that, which is why we are here to market that comparative advantage to the investing world.’’
‘‘Bayelsa State is safe, peaceful and ready for business. Our government has created the conducive and enabling environment for investments to flourish, including investments in the oil and gas sector.
‘‘We have started an Eco-Industrial City. So if you are interested in using gas for industrialisation, where to go to is Bayelsa. We are building a Deep Sea Port and we’ve got to provide power. We are building a power hub, a new Yenagoa City, we are building an International Airport and a host of other initiatives that will be attractive to investors.
‘‘I want to thank the GMD of NNPC, Dr Baru who has advanced the frontiers of NNPC so much that the NNPC is now getting ready to play in the big league internationally. I am also impressed that the GMD stopped over yesterday while leading the Nigerian delegation including the chairman and members of PETAN to encourage us, and he is here today once again, to underscore the importance of using technology to create jobs, open new frontiers in the oil and gas sector and as well as attract investments to our country. In the end, if every state in Nigeria is prosperous, if every state takes advantage of the abundant natural resources to create wealth and develop skilled manpower, then that translates to prosperity for our country.’’
In his response, Mr Baru described Bayelsa State as a trail blazer, with a visionary governor.
He promised to collaborate with the governor and support the Bayelsa State Government in its investment drives. He said the NNPC will assist the state government with evaluation, such that only viable projects are admitted into the world- class facilities being developed in Bayelsa State.
While noting that Bayelsa State was the only state with a stand at the OTC, Mr Baru called on other state governors to borrow a leaf from Mr Dickson.
He said: ‘‘When His Excellency, Governor Dickson visited the OTC last year, and subsequently paid me a visit, we discussed on issues bordering on why Nigeria cannot do what other countries and governments are doing…He also discussed some of his lofty ideas of building Industrial Parks with me, and of course, all the associated infrastructure that are required.
‘‘If you build an Indusrial Park, you are building an area where investors will come and have ready -made feedstock. Whether a refinery or fertilizer plant, the plot must be set and by being set I mean it will have all the necessary utilities and the feedstock piped to that location. So all that is needed for the investors to do is to site their plant, connect to the feed stock and commence operations.
‘‘In addition to this, the Industrial Park should have housing facilities to accommodate all who will work in the industrial park because these equipment, however, hi-tech they are, require people to man them. In addition to that, the Industrial park will have schools, gaming facilities and various entertainment facilities that it requires. And there will also be a need for an airport because not everything comes through the water way or the road. And of course, to have an airport, it must be done to the extent that it can host heavy lift aircraft as well as wide bodied huge aircraft.”