By Uwakmfon Dan
The Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, Akwa Ibom State, Dr. John James Etim, has revealed that the state government will not relent efforts at having International Oil Companies to relocate their operational bases to the state.
The Commissioner stated this today, when he appeared before the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Appropriation and Finance, chaired by Rt. Hon. Uduak Odudoh, to defend his Ministry’s 2022 Budget Proposal.
He said the state government will continue to engage necessary stakeholders in a bid to have the oil firms, especially, ExxonMobil relocate to Akwa Ibom State.
“We have identified these fly-by-night companies and we are tackling them. One of the greatest things His Excellency has done is giving us this architectural edifice (the Dakkada Towers) which we have sent information about, to all the oil and allied companies in Nigeria. Many of them have responded and they are in the process of paying deposits to move into one or two units at the Dakkada Towers.
“Mobil has indicated interest to get a space at the Dakkada Towers. I am not very sure how soon that will materialise, but we are following up. We are talking to the necessary stakeholders that will help us influence Mobil to take action”, he disclosed.
Accompanied by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Valarie Obot, the Commissioner named TotalEnergies and Conoil Plc as some of the companies who have shown unwillingness to relocate their operational bases to the state.
He however hinted that the state government had recently made a formal presentation against the firms before the National Assembly.
“There are a couple of them that are still very stubborn. They still want to sneak in, stay on our soil and generate revenue without identifying with the government or contributing to our tax base. Recently, we had an opportunity to make a presentation against these companies at the Senate. One of them is Total. The other one is Conoil.
“Total for instance, is arguing that they don’t operate on our waters, but they have oil wells named ‘Akai’, ‘Affia’, ‘Emem’, ‘Odudu.’ So, we asked them, are these Igbo or Yoruba names? They have not been able to give us any reasonable answer yet. We have also gone to the Boundary Commission. So, we are on top of the situation and by God’s grace, we wll be able to wither these fly-by-night companies and get what belongs to us”, he noted.
He frowned against the upsurge of illegal petroleum dealers in the state, stressing that his Ministry will continue to clampdown on unauthorised gas outlets, especially, those within residential areas.
The Commissioner disclosed that his Ministry has proposed the sum of N5.8billion as capital expenditure, covering 17 activities, including that of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Power, with N360billion as projected revenue for the 2022 fiscal year.