Insiders have said that the licence granted to Belemaoil to build a crude oil export terminal in Kula end of the Atlantic Ocean could be a game-changer in Nigeria’s troubled crude oil export.
Details have also emerged to show how the licence issued to what is to be known as ‘Belema Sweet’ or terminal to be located in Kula, Rivers State, would transform the export of crude oil from the Niger Delta.
According to Sam Jumbo, an official of Belemaoil, the development has set both the staff and community on a tone of optimism and excitement because it will cut down the pipeline distance to existing export terminal in Bonny from 45 km to 3km, and would draw from any oil wells instead of one that feeds Bonny closely.
The licence was issued Tuesday, June 13, 2023, along with one to the NNPCL Exploration and Production Ltd which operates Utapate Export Terminal located in Akwa Ibom State.
The licences were approved and issued to the two companies in Abuja by Farouk Ahmed, Authority Chief Executive (ACE), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA). According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report, the licences are the first set to establish crude oil terminals.
Speaking at the signing of the Terminal Establishment Licences, Ahmed said the development would add more than four million barrels capacity to Nigeria’s Export Storage. The licensing was made possible by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in Section 174(1) (a).
The report quoted the Chief Executive Officer of Belema Oil Producing Ltd, Jack-Rich Tein Jnr, to have lauded the Federal Government for facilitating business operations in Nigeria, saying the terminal would bring Nigeria to a global scale as high breed terminal.
He was reported to have added that the terminal had capacity to generate over $11 billion to the national revenue and over 400,000 barrels of crude daily with a storage point that could store eight million barrels of crude, and prospect of 100,000 jobs to be created.
According to industry sources within the Niger Delta, the facility is called ‘Belema Sweet’ because of many attractive prospects it holds for export of crude oil, and the abundant benefits already titillating the coastal communities that inhabit the oceanic areas of Kula.
BusinessDay had followed the processes leading the licence especially some of the mandatory activities such as the hosting and obtaining of community buy-in during a community engagement event on March 30, 2023, which was supervised by NNPC officials and other regulatory agencies.
The lawyer and External Relations Manager of Belemaoil Ltd, Samul Jumbo, who moderated the event, tried his best to convince the monarchs and community leaders (with youth leaders and women leaders) about the great prospects of an export terminal in their hometown of Kula.
He told them it was an idea developed by Tein Jackrich, the founder and CEO of Belemaoil Producing Limited, their own son.
Kula juts into the ocean just like Bonny and Brass, and Kula has everything needed to make it happen, he said. “The proposed port has unique advantages because all operators in that area (including AITEO, Shell) would have to export through Belema Sweet (terminal). This is because it will offer shorter route to a terminal by reducing 45km to as short as three kilometers. This is an attractive proposition.”
The human resources expert also said whereas Bonny has only one OML, Kula has about six, saying the benefits would spill jobs (some experts say up to 500 at the first instance), developments, etc.
“There is a 85km road to Kula spearheaded by Belemaoil which the terminal will boost. Bonny has made a road possible too, almost ready. This is what happens when you get a terminal. Your own contribution as community leaders is to help this dream come to reality because if it succeeds, all of you will benefit.”
A company involved in the project, Ajivin Nigeria Limited, led by Vincent Ajilo, threw more light on the sweetness of the upcoming ‘Belema Sweet’. He first harped on the sadness of losses due to pipelines breaking on the Bonny route.
Ajilo said: “Belema lost 5.4m barrels of crude oil during the one year of shutdown due to inability to transport crude oil to the Bonny through the major pipeline. Other oil companies lost also.
“This project (Belema Sweet) will stop the loss because the OMLs 55, 24, 25, 23, 18, and 29 will begin to export crude oil again. The new terminal will process 50mscf per day of SPG (condensate) and CNG and fertilizer. Pipeline will come from Robertkiri base to export terminal at Agudamakiri.
“There will be crude oil and gas production again. Kula will have full and regular power supply free like Bonny. There will be no cooking by firewood anymore.”
He said dredging will be done in the area to allow the terminal be constructed. There will be bush clearing jobs too for pipeline to run. “There will be two million barrels of oil storage which will increase to six million capacity in case when there is glut as happened during COVID-19 shutdown.”
He further wetted the appetite of the community leaders by showing that work would move fast. “December 2023 will see to the completion of the loading bay. There will be 18-inch pipeline running some 15 km. It will spill at least 500 jobs at the beginning. There would be training, power supply to Kula, GDP will be boosted, security in Kula sea-route will be boost up, etc.”
The Belema team appealed for and secured the blessing of the community leaders to cooperate and support the contractors and offer security. “You know the place better. Let the youths take this seriously because opportunities are plenty. Already, 40 percent of jobs are reserved to the communities,” Ajilo assured them.
With the license realised, excitement is said to shoot out in the Kula and Port Harcourt environs because of the huge impact expected on the communities and in the oil economy.