A strong feeling of appreciation and re-awakening ran through the historic city of Benin in Edo State Thursday as the 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 laying comatose since 2005.
An elated Governor Adams Oshiomole who led a team of prominent Edo State Government officials and dignitaries to the event said with the re-activation of the Benin Depot by the Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources, the Federal Government has demonstrated its resolve to sustain the ongoing reforms in the oil and gas industry.
``The honorable Minister has demonstrated that indeed good things can come from the Petroleum industry as well as the NNPC,’’ he said.
The former President of the Nigerian Labour Congress 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 mobilize the resources as well as the people of Edo State to combate the issue of pipeline vandalism which he described as a national menace.
Declaring the depot open for operation, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke noted that the revamping of the Benin depot is a single item in a long list of practical measures designed by the Jonathan administration to sanitize the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
``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 pipline vandalism. it clearly shows how successful we can be as a people if we come together to combat a scourge,’’ the Minister noted.
On his part, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Engr. Andrew Yakubu said in the months ahead the drive to revitalize 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. Imfact we are not going to stop until as the 21 depots become fully operational,’’ he said.
Describing the depot revamping exercise as NNPC’s contribution to the transformation agenda of the Federal Government, Yakubu called on stakeholders to support the Corporation in its quest to combat the incidence of pipeline vandalism.
Similar echoes of optimism were raised by the leadership of the Edo State chapters of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, IPMAN and the Petroleum Products Taker Drivers Association.
Constructed in 1978 and commissioned on August 30,1979, the Benin depot comprised 17 storage tanks with a combined design capacity to hold 121, 720,000 litres of petroleum products- namely premium motor spirits, House hold kerosene and automobile gas oil. The facility has nine loading arms.
The depot serves as alink for products evacuation from the Warri Refining and Petro-Chemical Company via a 16-inch pipeline traversing 89.9km.