Dr. Usua Amanam
Pioneer in modular refinery
The first time you may have heard about modular refinery, it would have been through the push given the idea by the pair of Dr. Usua Amanam and his friend, the late Dr. Nsidibe Ikpe who teamed up to found Amakpe Refinery and started initial work on its construction in Eket and licensing. Although the refinery has not taken off, Dr. Amanam believes the idea of owing the first private refinery in the state is still alive.
Dr Amanam is a child of providence. Just out of secondary school in his native Eket in 1970, he was involved in a motor accident in Calabar and sent to an Orthopedic clinic in Lagos for treatment. While working around during that visit, he stumbled on a flyer for Youth for Understanding, an international exchange programme for young people. The programme would enable enlistees go to America as exchange students. He did the aptitude test, did well, was first denied visa, persevered and finally, succeeded. That was the beginning of the American dream for this great Akwa Ibom son who would go on to earn Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from California State and San Jose State Universities.
He thereafter started an export and import business in which he sold departmental store supplies and returns to countries around the world. Being one who maintained good contact with his roots, Amanam took advantage of the deregulation of the petroleum sector by the federal government in 1999, and with his friend, the late Dr Nsidibe Ikpe, floated the Amakpe Refinery.
They got a land at Ikot Uso Ekong in Eket and gave out all their valuable assets to raise part of the then $38m needed for the project. Thankfully, the Akwa Ibom State Government invested in a 25 percent stake while the US Exim Bank, NEXIM Bank and Sterling Bank provided loan coverage. Murky politics would come in between and the refinery which received a Refinery Construction Licence from the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR,in July 2007 is still a hope waiting to come full stream.
Chief Usua is still negotiating and hopefully, an Amakpe Refinery, well thought out by him to create jobs and empower his kiths and kins will be a reality.
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