BRACED States Plan Niger Delta Energy Corridor
The six South-South states of Nigeria, namely Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa lbom, Cross River, Edo and Delta which goes by the acronym BRACED states are seriously planning a major energy infrastructural development in the region that could stretch from Calabar to Lagos. The Niger Delta Energy Corridor (NDEC) is a mega infrastructural project that is planned to host clusters of oil and gas related industries including some of the current existing oil and gas facilities in the region and beyond. It also includes those to be built in future within the Niger Delta region and up to Lagos.
The ambitious project promises to be one of the largest industrial clusters in Africa with the potential to transform the region and change the economic trajectory of the country.
The development of the Energy Corridor is predicated on the huge oil and gas deposits in the region which is the main economic resource of the nation, providing well over eighty-five percent of the nation’s revenue. Unfortunately these resources have been exploited for over 50 years without commensurate significant socio-economic impact on the region and its people. Thus as contemplated, the Energy Corridor will not only address the neglect of the region but in the long run offers both the region and the country the opportunity to pursue sustainable growth strategies that ensure the region’s resources or wealth are reinvested into productive investments. The investment when completed, will lead to significant changes in the Nigerian economy.
Beyond job creation and improvement in the standard of living of the Nigerian people, particularly people of the region, it will form the basis for the industrialisation of Nigeria and its economic transformation as it is being designed for the development and processing of the hydrocarbons and derivatives for the industrialisation of Nigeria. Among the other several desirable goals of the Energy Corridor are the establishment of utility corridors, infrastructure networks, access to natural resources, connection of people to industry through the development of new towns and intermodal transportation system that include train services, ports and modern interstate roads that will be linked to both the east-west and the coastal roads. Beyond the diversification and development of the region and national economy, it is expected to spur industrialisation, create over two million jobs and significantly contribute to national security and stability.
As an energy corridor designed for the development and processing of the hydrocarbon and derivatives for the industrialisation of the South-South region of Nigeria, the energy corridor provides huge investment opportunities in upstream hydrocarbon processing, gas to power projects, roads and connecting bridges, development of new towns with communication, housing, medical, hospitality facilities, drainage pump stations, industrial seaports with berths, storage yards and platforms, water treatment and waste water treatment plants.
The Niger Delta Energy Corridor
If the development of the Energy Corridor can be accomplished as proposed, it will definitely impact positively on the economy of the South-South and of course, on the national economy. There are clear indications that expanding beyond oil and gas and with the promise of abundant, low cost fuel, the Energy Corridor will give competitive edge to industries from steel, aluminum to fertilizers and chemicals. This would provide a boost to the region’s (and Nigeria’s for that matter) manufacturing sector that can create tens of thousands of jobs almost instantly. This does not even include petrochemical and fertilizer projects which will undergo revivals because of the envisaged low cost of natural gas field stock. The amount of petrochemical investment in this corridor in the next 10-20 years will be massive.
In the long term, the harnessing of the abundant energy resources of the region gives the BRACED states opportunities to achieve their goal of creating a sustainable regional economy with the huge capacity to improve the wellbeing and prosperity of the people of the South-South. In effect it will lead to the reduction of poverty and contribute to the growth of manufacturing in Nigeria. The Director-General of the BRACED Commission, Ambassador Joe Keshi, one of the promoters, believes that with cooperation between the Federal, States and the private sector, the Corridor could be in full operation within the next ten years. He says that the major advantage of the corridor as envisaged, is that crude oil export will end and Nigeria will gain more by processing its oil in the country and producing all chemicals it requires for its industries. Projects like the Niger Delta Energy Corridor, he insists, are the type of projects the nation should be embarking on because of its economic significance and the security it provides the nation. What is however most attractive and ambitious is the huge benefits of the Niger Delta Energy Corridor to the region and indeed to the nation.
The Niger Delta Energy Corridor was first unveiled in 2011 by the Rivers State Economic Advisory Council (RSEAC) as a strategy to process the region’s vast natural resources to accelerate industrialisation of the BRACED States, that of its neighbours and enhance regional development. In April 2012, the BRACED States, at the 2nd South-South Economic Summit in Asaba, Delta State accepted in principle to adopt and ensure the implementation of the Corridor as a regional project. The decision of the BRACED States Governors, at its Council meeting in Benin-city recently to adopt and promote it as a regional project has given it a great impetus and push.
The BRACED States, in 2009 agreed to forge closer economic cooperation and integration to accelerate economic development of the South-South, and improve the welfare and prosperity of the people. The BRACED Commission, the region’s development agency was thus, charged to promote the development of the Corridor along with its original authors the Rivers State Economic Advisory Council and Techdev Energy Plc.