Almost 10 years after it was shut down due to pipeline vandalisation, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday disclosed that it was set to re-open its Aba depot for improved distribution of petroleum products in the South-east.
NNPC in a statement signed by its acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Fidel Pepple, stated that the scheduled re-opening of its Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) depot in Aba today will boost distribution and supply of petroleum products in the South-east geo-political zone. Explaining that the depot was shut down for almost a decade owing to pipeline vandalism, Pepple noted that its re-opening is a major achievement by the corporation under the watch of its new Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who has pledged to retool the downstream sub-sector in line with the vision of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
“One of the key objectives of the new management as espoused by the GMD during his maiden town hall meeting with staff recently was the revamping of critical downstream oil facilities and infrastructure.” He mentioned the rehabilitation of strategic depots, jetties and pipeline segments from Port Harcourt to Yola; the re-opening of the Aba Depot is therefore a major step in that direction as it will help ease the hitches in petroleum products supply in the South-east and going forward, in the North-central and North-east.
Also commenting on the significance of the event, the Managing Director of the PPMC, Mr. Haruna Momoh described the re-opening of the Aba depot as a major milestone for the PPMC in its drive to ensure unimpeded flow of petroleum products in the South-eastern zone of the country. He said in the statement: “The advantages of having Aba depot back to operation are quite a handful; first it will reduce pressure on the Port Harcourt Refinery/Depot, it will make Abia, Imo, Anambra and environs wet with petroleum products, and naturally the multiplier effect will lead to automatic jerk up of economic activities in Aba and the entire zone.”
Momoh also mentioned that the re-opening will totally eliminate the incidence of bridging of products from Port Harcourt to Aba, adding: “The nation will be saved the cost of bridging via the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) scheme as trucks which should have gone to Port Harcourt to bridge now have their own depot in Aba.’’ Accordingly, Momoh thanked the Alison-Madueke for providing the much needed impetus for the NNPC and the PPMC to embark on the phased rehabilitation of the nation’s 21 loading depots which had been lying fallow for so long.
“Since we came on board at PPMC in 2011, we have set in motion an aggressive plan to make all our depots active as directed by the minister. So far we have been able to re-commission Suleja after 15 years of inactivity, we re-commissioned Minna, Kano, Gusau, Jos and now we are in Aba and very soon we shall be in Benin, Gombe before moving to Makurdi, Enugu and Yola,” he said. He also called on citizens and residents of Aba to remain vigilant to the activities of pipeline vandals and ensure that oil thieves do not grind the depot to a halt again.