Foremost downstream oil company, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, saturday commissioned a berthing terminal – Dantata Jetty, which has a capacity to berth vessels of 80,000–120,000 metric tonnes capacity at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.
The record-breaking facility, which is reputed in the downstream sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry as the first of its kind in any port in Africa, will save Nigeria millions of dollars spent annually by marketers of petroleum products to hire daughter vessels to lift products from the mother vessels on the high seas to the depots, as the mother vessels can now berth directly at the new Jetty.
Speaking yesterday during the commissioning ceremony in Lagos, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said that though the jetty was the largest in Africa, what he enjoyed most iwas the Information Technology (IT) deployed in the facility to monitor on computers, the loadings of every drop of petroleum product.
He said with the computerisation scheme in the facility, the Chairman of the company could monitor the loadings from anywhere in the world.
Kachikwu said he had a similar vision for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), stressing that as the leader in the downstream sector, the NNPC Downstream should adopt similar computerisation scheme to reduce losses in its operations.
“That is fantastic; it is important that we get the NNPC to align with this strategy to reduce losses,” Kachikwu added.
The oil minister further recalled that a year ago, he took a decision that the lightering expenses incurred by the NNPC in transferring products from the mother vessels to the daughter vessels was becoming unsustainable.
“Sayyu (chairman of MRS Oil) heard this and took the decision on this facility,” he said.
Kachikwu commended MRS, stressing that the acquisition of Chevron Oil has transformed the firm to a big global company.
He said that the federal government had the responsibility to improve the ease of doing business to ensure the success of businesses like MRS Oil.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said MRS Oil deserved commendation “not only for the size, the capacity – the audacity of what MRS has done but also because it was done by a Nigerian company.”
According to him, the most important investor in any economy are the local investors because “they will not run away, no matter how tough it is.”
Fashola said the present administration realised this and had remained committed to supporting local investors such as MRS and others.
“Congratulations also that this investment has come to maturity at a most auspicious time – barely a week after Mr. President launched the economic recovery programme and one of the priority actions in that programme out of the 60 interventions is strengthening our capacity towards self-sufficiency in energy supply,” Fashola explained.
Fashola pledged to electrify the corridor and build transmission lines because the area is an important investment corridor and behind it is tourism.
In his speech, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said the federal government was committed to improving the country’s global ranking in the ease of doing business to attract investors.
According to him, Nigeria should not think that her environment is unique in terms of doing business because investors, including local ones have other choices.
“We live in a world where we are part of the global community. Nigerians should not think that their environment is unique in attracting business because investors have other destinations. So, we must improve our global ranking,” Enelamah said.
Speaking for the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who was also present at the event, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, described the jetty as a great feat in maritime acquisition in Nigeria.
“We are here today to celebrate a great feat in maritime acquisition. I have been challenged that the Cabotage Act is not working but this jetty has proved that it is working. I want to take advantage of this opportunity to encourage other investors to invest in the maritime sector because the current government is working on the ease of doing business,” Peterside explained.
In her remarks, the company’s Group Executive Director in charge of Trading and Supply, Amina Maina, traced the history of MRS from its inception in 1995 and to where it is today. Maina praised the workforce for its dedication and sacrifices to get the company to its present state saying the dream would not have been realised without their loyalty and contributions.
Also in his welcome address, the Chairman of the company, Alhaji Sayyu Dantata, noted that the jetty would save the country the expenses incurred in Ship-to-Ship (STS) transfer, as well as demurrage, which he estimated at over $200 million yearly.
According to him, before the construction of the jetty, the company could only bring small vessels of 10,000 – 30,000 metric tonnes capacity to berth and discharge products at the depot.
Sayyu said with the completion of the jetty, a vessel of 60,000MT capacity is already at the facility, adding that the capacity is equivalent to six vessels of 10,000MT tones each.
“We have gone out to the sea 34 metres. We save costs for the country in terms of STS (ship-to-ship) transfer. This vessel is equivalent to six vessels of 10,000MT each and it shows that Nigerians can do great things. For the first time in Africa, 60,000MT vessel berth today and it has never happened anywhere in Africa. What we normally use to do operations is between 10,000MT and 30,000MT,” Dantata explained.
The Speaker of the House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, was represented by Hon. Victor Nwokolo, Chairman House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), while Senator Abdullai Yahaya represented, Chairman Senate Committee on Downstream, Senator Kabiru Marafa, at the well attended ceremony to officially commission the massive jetty.