A strong feeling of appreciation and re-awakening ran through the historic city of Benin in Edo State yesterday as Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke re-commissioned the strategic Benin Depot of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) which has been out of operation since 2005.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole said with the re-activation of the Benin Depot by the minister, the Federal Government has demonstrated its resolve to sustain the ongoing reforms in the oil and gas industry.
“The minister has demonstrated that indeed good things can come from the Petroleum industry as well as the NNPC,” he said.
Oshiomole recalled how he had to embark on what he termed a ‘pilgrimage’ to the Warri Refinery at the inception of his administration, to solicit for the supply of petroleum products to the state. “I thank God that I don’t have to make such long walk to Warri again because the Benin depot is back to service.” he said.
The governor pledged to mobilise the resources as well as the people of Edo State to combat the issue of pipeline vandalism which he described as a national menace.
Declaring the depot open for operation, Mrs. Alison-Madueke noted that the revamping of the Benin depot is a single item in a long list of practical measures designed by the President Jonathan’s administration to sanitise the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
She said: “As an industry, we are extremely satisfied that the transformation agenda of the President in the oil and gas industry is coming to fruition. We are grateful to the Joint Task force for the level of support they have given the petroleum sector especially in the area of pipeline vandalism. It clearly shows how successful we can be as a people if we come together to combat a scourge.”
Group Managing Director of the NNPC Andrew Yakubu said in the months ahead, the drive to revitalise the nation’s petroleum products depot will be sustained with the re-opening of the Gombe and Jos depots. “We have re-commissioned Mosimi, Aba and now Benin. But the good news is that we are not going to stop here, very soon we shall be in Gombe, Jos and other depots. In fact, we are not going to stop until the 21 depots become fully operational,” he said.
Describing the depot revamping project as NNPC’s contribution to the transformation agenda of the Federal Government, Yakubu urged stakeholders to support the corporation in its quest to combat the incidence of pipeline vandalism.
Similar commendations came from the leadership of the Edo State chapters of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) and the Petroleum Products Tanker Drivers Association.
Constructed in 1978 and inaugurated on August 30,1979, the Benin depot has 17 storage tanks with a combined design capacity to store 121, 720,000 litres of petroleum products including premium motor spirit, household kerosene and automotive gas oil. The facility has nine loading arms. The depot serves as a link for products evacuation from the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company through a 16-inch pipeline traversing 89.9km.