Benue Govt will mobilise every available resources to fast track Ethanol project _ Engr Benson Abounu

The Benue state Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC ) have moved closer to the establishment of the Agasha – Guma sugar cane-fuel ethanol project expected to boost fuel sufficiency in the country.
At a meeting held yesterday at the NNPC Towers, Abuja between a Benue State Government delegation led by the Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu and top management team of the NNPC led by the Group Managing Director, Dr, Maikanti Baru represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Ventures, Dr. Victor Tunde Adeniran, the two sides resolved the main issues at the heart of the project which started in 2008 but was abandoned after a while.

Both sides expressed the desire to get the project started with Engr Abounu promising to do all within the powers of the state to ensure that the 20,000 hectare project which is expected to create over 1 million direct and indirect jobs as well as generate 64 MW electricity through the bagasse cogeneration power plant, takes off.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Engr Abounu said the state government would mobilise every available resources to fast track the project adding that in the next three weeks, the Saghev portion of the land would be surveyed.

Engr Abounu who restated the full commitmment and support of the host community for the project disclosed that the meeting accepted the desire of Benue State to be on the management board and act as a bridge between the project and the people.
Also speaking, the GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has special intetest in the project, adding that the NNPC is totally committed to it’s execution as well as the oil exploration work in the state.

He disclosed that having done due diligence on the core investors, they have crossed the biggest hurdle on the way and assured that in the first quarter of next year, when the remaining minor issues have all been sorted out, work shall begin on the biofuel project.
On the exploration for hydrocarbon (oil), Dr. Moses Sunday, head of the Frontier Exploratory Services informed the meeting that the NNPC team is already on site mobilising to commence activities, adding that everything is proceeding smoothly.
Yesterday’s meeting followed series of meetings held between the NNPC and the Benue State Government; the last been the visit of the Group Managing Director to the Benue People’s House, Makurdi on 1st November 2017. When completed, the ethanol project apart from providing jobs and generating 64 MW electricity shall also provide a wide range of services and benefits among them, 20,000 hectares sugar cane feedstock plantation, construction of cane mill and raw/refined sugar plant with production capacity of 126,000 tons/year; ethanol fuel processing plant with capacity of 84 million litres/year and animal feeds at 63,000tons/year.

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