…As Bloomberg gives $50 million to aid shift from coal worldwide***
The Federal Government has received not fewer than seven applications to operate modular refineries in Edo State.
The Minister for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu who confirmed this on Thursday, also stated that three out of the seven received applications were already at approval stage.
Speaking at the Stakeholders Engagement and Enlightenment Campaign in Niger Delta states, organized by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, in collaboration with the Edo Government in Benin, Kachikwu indicated that Government was working to bring development to the Niger Delta region through establishment of modular refineries initiative, gas flare commercialisation programmes and collaborations with the Niger Delta region in the Amnesty Programme.
He highlighted the establishment of the refineries as private sector driven, noting that the designs, analysis and engineering work for three of the refineries have been done.
Kachikwu commended the oil producing communities in Edo for being peaceful and urged them to continue to tow the line of peace to allow for development in the communities.
He announced the setting up of a committee, to be headed by the Secretary to the Edo Government Mr Osarodion Ogie, to identify development needs and work to address them within a specific timeline in the state.
He said the committee was made up of representatives of the federal and state governments, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and security agencies.
However, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has called on the NDDC, established by the Federal Government to fast track development in the Niger Delta region, and to live up to its responsibilities in the state.
Obaseki expressed displeasure that the commission had, over the years, failed to fulfill its mandate in the state, adding that it had also failed to sign an MoU with the state to reconstruct the Benin-Abraka Express Road.
The governor called for extension of the Amnesty Programme to the state and a yearly stakeholders’ meeting, to encourage development in the state.
“Oil is located in 33 communities in three local government councils in the state namely, Ovia North East, Orhionmwon and Ikpoba Okha.
“We want to organise the oil producing LGAs into clusters and work with Federal Government to help us with the physical planning and gap analysis to evaluate progress of development in the councils,” the governor said.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Usani Uguru Usani, said the meeting was to sensitise and create awareness of the on-going Federal Government’s initiative in the region.
Usani said the Federal Government was reviewing the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta region to capture those who were left out of the scheme.
Present at the meeting were delegates from the three oil producing local councils in the state, who called for provisions of health care centres, modular refineries, road construction and infrastructure needs.
In the meantime, former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg is donating 50 million dollars to help nations around the world shift from coal to combat pollution and climate change, expanding his funding outside the United States.
The project would start in Europe and expand into other countries later on, his charity, Bloomberg Philanthropies, said in a statement on Thursday on the margins of U.N. climate negotiations among 200 nations in Bonn, Germany.
The European Climate Foundation, a non-governmental group, will be the leading partner in Europe, it said.
“Bloomberg’s announcement marks his first investment in efforts outside the U.S. to decrease reliance on coal and shift to renewable, cleaner energy sources,” Bloomberg’s charity said in abstatement.
In the United States, Bloomberg has given 110 million dollars to a Beyond Coal campaign to close mines since 2011.
“A growing number of European countries have made plans to go 100 per cent coal-free.
“This move sets a great example for the rest of the world – but coal still kills around 20,000 people in the European Union each year,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
Since 2011 nearly half of the U.S. coal-fired power plants, or nearly 260 plants, have closed.
The closures have continued this year in spite of President Donald Trump’s plan to pull out of the global Paris agreement for fighting climate change and instead promote jobs in the domestic fossil fuel industry.