The announcement was made by President Goodluck Jonathan while inaugurating Orient Petroleum’s Anambra River Production Facility in Aguleri-Otu.
By this development, Anambra has joined the group of oil producing states like Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Abia, Bayelsa, Ondo, Delta and Edo.
Speaking at the ceremony, Jonathan said it was high time Nigeria stopped exporting crude oil and unprocessed agricultural produce.
He said the country must begin to refine its crude oil before exporting it so that it could be more valuable.
He wondered why the country would continue to export crude oil and then import refined petrol, kerosene and aviation fuel.
The President said, “History is not just being made in Anambra State, but in the whole country. Orient has made a mark by partnering the government to come out with this revolution. This will give investors, both within and outside our country, the confidence to invest in our sedimentary basins.
“As a nation, we should not continue to think that we will be exporting crude materials. Our farm produce, we want to send them abroad in crude form; our crude oil, we send abroad. The people who add value to these products make more money than we do.”
“Those in the oil industry should not be thinking only about how to export crude oil; they should add value to the crude oil. Why can’t we export petroleum products to every part of the world? Why should we import petrol, kerosene, diesel and aviation kerosene or jet fuel when we are supposed to add value to our crude oil and export the refined products to make more money?” the President asked.
He said the Federal Government had decided to give more attention to all sedimentary basins across the country, noting that the steps taken by the indigenous oil firm would go a long way in giving confidence to both local and foreign investors to invest in the country’s oil and gas sector.
Jonathan said in the history of the world, there was always a turning point and that in Nigeria; now was the era of transformation.
He said his administration had resolved to continue to partner the private sector to develop the country, saying that was why private sector players were represented in his Economic Management Team.
The President reiterated his administration’s commitment to creating jobs for the teeming young school leavers in the country.
Earlier, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Orient Petroleum, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, said it was no longer acceptable for Nigeria, which is one of the largest producers of crude oil in the world, to remain one of the biggest importers of refined products.
Anyaoku, a former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, said the paradox was what the oil firm had set out to correct.
According to him, fund poses a serious challenge to the firm’s desire to build its refinery, but noted that with the inauguration of the project, it would raise enough money to complete the refinery by the end of next year.
He said the firm’s steps were in conformity with the present administration’s transformation agenda.