LIBERTY OIL & GAS FREE ZONE, AKWA IBOM STATE

The Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone, located in Akwa Ibom State, was established by a Presidential Declaration in July 2020. The Free Zone is promoted by Akwa Ibom State, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and private sector equity investors, which include Sterling Petroleum and Fertilizer Limited, and the Black Rhino Group.

The Liberty Free Zone is the largest Oil and Gas Free Zone in West Africa by landmass, measuring 50,215 hectares across six local council areas.

A unique development about Liberty Free Zone worth noting is that it is being rapidly populated by clients.  Within a year of its establishment the Free Zone has reported the rollout of 12 licensed international companies, raising investment commitments profile in the industrial and trade hub to more than $15 billion.

The development design of the Liberty Free Zone at full roll-out will feature a Petroleum and Energy District; NNPC Logistics Centre; Business and Industrial District; Agro-allied Industrial District; and Heavy Industry District.

The Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone inherited some important legacy projects, which include the 115 MW Ibom Power Plant, built by Akwa Ibom State, which is one of the promoters of the Free Zone, and the Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria, a Federal Government firm since sold to private investors. Both legacy companies are located in Ikot Abasi.

One of the promoters/developers operating out of the Ibeno axis of the free zone, Qua Iboe Export Hub Limited (QIEH), has a significant operation in place already, gearing up as the gas processing hub for West Africa.

A profile of QIEH’s planned investments and projects up to 2023 include a 567MW gas-fired power plant, which is at advanced stages of development; 15 million standard cubic feet gas flare elimination investment valued at $120 million under the Federal Government gas flare commercialization programme, by which gas being flared around the area will be gathered and converted to domestic use; a 3.5 million MTPA petrochemicals platform, designed under the nation’s natural gas monetization programme to produce methanol and ammonia; and a 2.0 million MTPA liquefied natural gas plant, LNG export terminal and LNG fleet network to be developed within the projected period.

Other key projects lined up for execution during the period include a gas field development and pipeline transport system to supply gas from Mobil-NNPC JV operations to meet the energy requirements of QIEH; a high-octane gasoline 20,000 bpd plant for the production of synthetic gasoline; and the development of a logistics base and a fabrication yard to support the operations of oil production and service companies in the zone.

When the entire Free Zone comes on stream, it will position the country as the destination for future downstream investments in the oil and gas industry, especially in logistics and manufacturing.

The development design of the zone at full rollout will feature a Petroleum and Energy District; NNPC Logistics Centre; Business and Industrial District; Agro-allied Industrial District; and Heavy Industry District.

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