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Petroleum minister re-opens strategic Benin depot

By The Citizen
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Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Thursday re-commissioned the strategic Benin Depot of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), which has been dormant since 2005.

Declaring the depot open for operation, Alison-Madueke noted that its revamping was a single item in a long list of practical measures designed by the Jonathan's administration to sanitise 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 pipeline vandalism. It clearly shows how successful we can be as a people if we come together to combat a scourge,' she said.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, said the Gombe and Jos depots would come on stream.

'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. In fact we are not going to stop until all the 21 depots become fully operational,' he said.

An elated Governor Adams Oshiomhole 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 minister, the Federal Government has demonstrated its resolve to sustain the ongoing reforms in the oil and gas industry.

'The honourable 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 Edo 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.

He pledged to mobilise the resources and people of Edo State to combat pipeline vandalism, which he described as a national menace.

Similar optimism and appreciation were expressed by the leadership of the Edo State chapters of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) and the Petroleum Products Taker Drivers Association.

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 vandalism.

Constructed in 1978 and commissioned on August 30,1979, the depot comprises 17 storage tanks with a combined design capacity to hold 121,720,000 litres of petroleum products – namely premium motor spirits, household kerosene and automobile gas oil. The facility has nine loading arms.

The depot serves as a link for products evacuation from the Warri Refining and Petro-Chemical Company via a 16-inch pipeline traversing 89.9km.