Christian missionaries to establish $1 billion refinery in Akwa Ibom
Some Christian missionaries from Texas in the United States of America (USA), with their Nigerian counterparts, have concluded the necessary arrangement to build a N1 billion aviation fuel refinery in Uruan local government area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The missionaries are Apostle Quint Burks, Senior Pastor of New Vision Ministries Texas USA and Dr. Daniel Justice from Texas too and founder of PMI international, while their Nigerian counterparts are Rev. Dr. Hilkiah Eliathah national chairman of Christian-Muslim Peace Initiative and Pastor God Bethel and Redemption Ministry in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, and Evangelist Tiebet Jacob, resident Pastor of New Vision Ministries in Uyo. In this interview with wordalive.com.ng, they are positive that the refinery will flourish regardless of fall of oil in the global market and that the project will create economic opportunities for the people of the state. Excerpts:
This plan is coming at a time when there has been tremendous fall in the global price of oil which has negatively affected the revenue base of the country since oil is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. How do you think your refinery project will flourish at this point in time?
Missionaries: Yes, we know that the Nigerian economy has been badly hit by the fall in the global oil price and all and sundry have been bearing the brunt. We also know that the nation has been gravitating towards agriculture to boost the economy and to diversify it as well. As a result, most government policies and other stakeholders have been in favour of agriculture while the oil sector is becoming less and less fantastic. Moreover, the global oil crises have also had a palpable effect on oil companies operating in Nigeria and many of them are struggling to keep afloat and have been operating below their normal operational capacity.
So, few investors now venture into oil business unlike before, while fewer people contemplate establishing a refinery – talk more of a capital intensive one. We know all those things. But for us, we have a different perspective and we believe that setting up a refinery will not only flourish but will create many opportunities to the people of the state and touch many lives in the process.
But you are missionaries and one would think your vision and mission should be preaching the gospel alone?
In addition to preaching the gospel, one of the concrete ways of reaching out to the people is through projects such as this since it would have multiplying positive effect on the people’s lives. Our vision as well as that of PMI is to basically work with different nations of the world to see how we can bring development to the people and our intention is not only to build a refinery, but to bring economic opportunities to the people.
So, we came over here to preach the gospel and to also better people’s lives. The last time we came, we saw such a need in the communities and we told ourselves that besides preaching to the people, we need to establish something concrete that can bring hope to them and having positive things for their families. So, with other ministries/pastors’ connections that we have and our contacts with some definite investors, we are now in the process of putting together this oil refinery package. We have been to many nations of the world to preach the gospel, but we feel the immediate need to bring hope to Akwa Ibom people and many of their generations to follow.
What is the name of the company and have you finalised all the necessary processes for the commencement of the refinery?
The company is called Remacock Energy Development Company Limited. It is registered in USA as well as in Nigeria. We have already acquired a land and other feasibility study is still ongoing. We are also in the process of applying for a license which will involve the Department of Petroleum Resources ( DPR), the Ministry of Environment, etc. We have also met the Akwa Ibom State government and they already know about the project. The major product that will be produced by the refinery is aviation fuel and it would be situated in Uruan local government area of Akwa Ibom State.
What is the cost implication of the project?
The cost implication of the entire project is about $1billion, but to kick start it about $150 billion would be required.
Have you obtained the license for the project?
The government has promised to give the license for the commencement of the refinery upon one week of application. We will be coming back by March 2017 to put other things in place and ensure the commencement of the refinery. In about a year and a half from now, the refinery ought to have commenced operation already; a tree has already been planted to signal the kick starting of the project. The consultancy firm handling some of the processes and securing of licenses has also taken care of the accounting softwares and all the various stages are carefully being perfected to meet the needed requirement of setting up a refinery.
Have you taken good care to make sure that the processes are professionally undertaken and to avoid future environmental degradation?
As we said, we have engaged the services of a consultancy firm to provide professional services so that they can implement perfectly all the needed strategy towards establishing the refinery. They are also used to working with the government and they understand the steps that we take to go through each aspect. One of the members of the consulting firm is a retired safety expert from Exxonmobile and he is going to make sure that the best practices to put in place so that there would be no detrimental impact to the environment when the refinery commences operational.
How did this concept all begin?
One of our partners in Akwa Ibom State who is also a pastor and human rights administrator, Rev. Dr. Hilkiah Eliathah, was the one who actually suggested to others to establish a developmental project in Akwa Ibom through the contact he made the rest of us via Evangelist Tiebet Jacob whose brother, Bishop Ani Jacob in USA happens to be the Managing Director in the company. We then came for a feasibility study and then discovered that a refinery is indeed an ideal project. I believe that the good intension that we all have towards this project will enable the refinery to be totally different and to succeed.
Will Nigerians be carried along in the management of the refinery?
The management of the refinery will be in the hands of the expatriates as well as Nigerians. Besides, since the Americans are spearheading it, you know that it cannot fail because the Americans have really never failed in oil business. That is actually what people from Texas are actually known for. Even the Chairman, Dr. Justice worked with Exxonmobil before and he has very rich experience.
Why do you think refineries in Nigeria have not been functioning properly and why do you think yours would be different?
Missionaries: The problem with our refinery system all along is that it has always been in the hands of people who have not been really exposed to the technical knowhow of a refinery. But in our case, it will be in the hands of experts who have hands-on experience and technical know-how of a refinery. Although 80 percent of the technical support would be coming from the Americans, most of the management and manpower would be Nigerians which is in line with the government regulation, and that would give the people a level playing ground.
Has the Akwa Ibom State government supported you in any way so far?
We have so far enjoyed a tremendous support from the Akwa Ibom State government and we are confident that the relationship will fast track the building of the refinery without much hitches.
How many people do you think the refinery will employ upon commencement of operation?
About 10,000 jobs would be created at the end of the day. Every step we have followed so far and everything we have proposed and laid out is in line with the government’s plans/regulations towards the establishment of a company such as the refinery project.
Why the choice of Uruan local government area for siting of the refinery?
Our choice of Uruan local government area for the siting of the refinery is because it is advantageous, it is a riverine area and petroleum/crude oil is located there in good quantity. Moreover, refining would be easy there.