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OGFZA Considers Cheap Electricity at Onne Free Zone

By Dipo Olowookere

In order to make cheap electricity is enjoyed at the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) has given a license to a power consortium called PHEDC/ESOP to make this possible.

The mandate of the power consortium is to provide gas-fired dedicated power to the free zone at a cost per kilowatt of power that is lower than the going rate of diesel-generated power in the zone.

Announcing the key step on the embedded power project to a stakeholders forum during the week, managing director of OGFZA, Mr Umana Okon Umana, said the latest development on the power project was in keeping with his commitment to stakeholders in the free zone during the joint stakeholders meeting of August 2017 in Onne that OGFZA would “provide embedded power as a cost cutting measure to improve competitiveness in the Free Zones.”

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In an address to the forum, chairman of the governing board of OGFZA, Mr Timipre Sylva, represented by board member Engineer Tempitope Kubemi, announced that government would prioritize the provision of infrastructure in the free zones and the take-off of the Brass Oil and Gas City, a registered free zone located on Brass Island in Bayelsa State.

Mr Sylva promised to ensure that the oil and gas free zones get the right support from government “to fulfil their mandate as vehicles for the stimulation of industrialization, diversification of the economy and job creation.”

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Mr Umana also announced to the stakeholders at the Lagos meeting that OGFZA “will be collaborating with Axxela Ltd to deliver holistic energy solutions to our free zones.” Both power solution firms, PHEDC/ESOP and Axxela, made presentations to the meeting.

He reported more progress by the free zone regulator. “On the issue of tariffs in the free zones,” Umana said, “I want to assure you that we will continue to address concerns in that direction to ensure that tariffs are at all times moderated to fair and reasonable levels in the best interest of all.

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“In order to automate our processes and increase efficiency of operations, two ORACLE Cloud Services Modules which have been undergoing test run and integration are to be commissioned in December 2018.

“I want to report also that OGFZA has engaged PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to carry out a diagnostic assessment/review of our existing and proposed oil and gas free zones as part of our investment promotion strategy. The partnership with PwC is operated through our investment subsidiary, Free Zones Global Investments Limited. “There have been some instances of misunderstanding with regard to the position of the law on taxation as it relates to Free Zone operators. The Authority will continue to ensure that Free Zone operators are not denied incentives guaranteed for them by law, and wherever there are issues the Authority will always intercede on behalf of our investors.”

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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