Joe Effiong, Uyo

Akwa Ibom State Government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with  BlackRhino, operators of Qua Iboe Power Plant (QIPP), for the establishment of a transmission line and a power plant in the state.

Governor Udom Emmanuel, who signed on behalf of the state government, said, he is always glad to be associated with employment generating opportunities, and maintained that the Qua Iboe Power plant is one of the projects that would provide the basis for industrialisation.

The governor said power, in whatever form, means a lot and commended the QIPP management for committing an investment of $1.1 billion for the facility, with an additional $500 million for gas.

He said: “We want to believe the gas reserves we have here can actually make Akwa Ibom a gas hub, and we can actually partner and collaborate to see how we can realise this. Nigerians cannot have this quantum of gas and we still face a whole lot of challenges of what gas can solve. It is inexplicable, but that is the situation we found ourselves.”

He said the signing of the MoU is one of the solutions that will solve the country’s gas challenges, adding that he was fulfilling his initial promise to involve his government actively in the process.

“We will make sure you have the cooperation of the communities, the government and all the agencies that need to make your job easier,” he said.

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While stressing that the current electricity generated in the country is a far cry from the demands, the governor reiterated the confidence and expectations of Nigerians on the new power project.

“I am sure we should be able to use this to launch into the new direction that will actually take us to where we are going to,” he said.

The governor thanked the host communities, the paramount rulers, the office of the Secretary to State Government and the Foreign Direct Investment team that worked hard to ensure the realisation of the project.

On his part, BlackRhino Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Brian Herlihy, described the project as the beginning of, “not only a power project, but a huge industrialisation programme and we thank you for your leadership.”

Herlihy, who signed the MoU both for the transmission line and the power plant project, thanked the state government team for the measure of hard work exhibited and spoke about the importance of the project as a long term investment. He said his team looked “at Akwa Ibom State as the best place to be in Nigeria, where things are actually happening.”

He commended the hospitality and the excitement observed in the state and announced; “we are going to invest $1.1 billion for this power plant and Exxon is going to invest another $500 million for the gas.”