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Cablegate: Delta State, Desopadec: Major & Minor

VZCZCXRO9673
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0064/01 0461527
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151527Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9760
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9490
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0180
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH AFB UK
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 LAGOS 000064

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA, DS/IP/AF, DS/ICI/PII, DS/DSS/OSAC
OSLO FOR HELENA SCHRADER
DOE FOR GPERSON, CAROLYN GAY
TREASURY FOR ASEVERENS, SRENENDER, DFIELDS
COMMERCE FOR KBURRESS
STATE PASS USTR FOR ASST USTR FLISER
STATE PASS TRANSPORTATION FOR MARAD
STATE PASS OPIC FOR ZHAN AND MSTUCKART
STATE PASS TDA FOR NCABOT
STATE PASS EXIM FOR JRICHTER
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SENV NI
SUBJECT: DELTA STATE, DESOPADEC: MAJOR & MINOR
INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS AWAIT IMPLEMENTATION

REF: 07 LAGOS 793

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED--HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) Summary: Delta State's Integrated Development
Project and the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development
Commission (DESOPADEC) made a joint presentation to the
Mission's FCS officer. DESOPADEC plans to order modular
refineries and gas gathering plants to jump start the local
economy and has purchased an air to water purification unit
to provide potable water to riverine inhabitants. The Delta
State Integrated Development Project purchased 20 General
Electric turbines for electrical power generation and
outlined an elaborate development program. End Summary.

----------------------------------
DESOPADEC to Buy Modular Refinery,
Gas Gathering System
----------------------------------

2. (SBU) Chief Wellington Okirika, Chairman of the Delta
State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC),
told Commercial Attache and Poloffs on January 28 that he had
identified two U.S. companies from which to purchase modular
refineries and gas gathering plants (Reftel); they are
conducting due diligence on these companies. Okirika said he
chose the companies because they sent representatives to
Warri. Delta State has to set up its own refinery because
decision makers in Abuja see the Delta as too risky and have
issued refinery licenses to companies in other regions.
(Note: None of the licenses issued have resulted in the
development of refineries. End Note.)

3. (SBU) Godwin Akpobire, Head of the Delta State Integrated
Development Project, estimated Delta has 896,000 barrels per
day (bpd) of oil reserves; most of this is shut in due to
community protests in the state. Okirika said Delta's gas
gathering plants would be fueled from flared gas, noting that
Nigeria is second only to Russia in gas flaring, and stranded
gas is currently not exploited by the oil companies.
Akpobire said UK companies have come to Delta to consider how
best to harness gas reserves.

--------------------------------------------- ----
DESOPADEC: February Installation for Water System
--------------------------------------------- ----

4. (U) Okirika said DESOPADEC has purchased one reverse
osmosis air to water purification unit (used in Kuwait,
Dubai, and Burkina Faso) and hopes to install it near
Okerenkoko, Delta State in early February. Ground water
reportedly has a high salt content and requires more
processing than water removed from humid air; Okirika said
each purification unit produces approximately 1,600
gallons/day. DESOPADEC plans to offer free 24-hour medical
care next to each purification unit; Okirika was confident
these would operate unimpeded because the people would see
the linkage between safe water, health care, peace and
security.

5. (U) DESOPADEC expects to release naira 1.5 billion
(approximately USD 12.7 million) to microfinance cooperatives
in mid-February, Okirika said. DESOPADEC anticipates that
its Waterways Monitoring Committee will begin to reduce the
activities of armed youth. The militants have agreed to
allow contractors to work in riverine areas, Okirika said,
and as a result, Delta State has awarded 300 contracts for
2-3 bedroom houses, roads, schools, jetties, and water
projects.

LAGOS 00000064 002 OF 003

-------------------------------------
State Integrated Development Project:
Big Plans, Little Progress
-------------------------------------

6. (U) Akpobire outlined for the Commercial Attache his
extensive plans for a 1,058 km road network (interstate
highway, intercity network, and intra-city network), a 540 km
railway, and a deep sea port near Escravos. He said the
state plans to construct its own market across the river from
Anambra's Onitsha market. This will help extend commercial
activities into Delta State. Further, Akpobire predicted a
contract for an airport in Asaba, Delta's capitol city, would
be awarded by early January. The airport would be
international and its management privatized, he said.

7. (U) Akpobire said adequate power is badly needed;
although the state provides 450 megawatts a day to the
national grid, it receives virtually none in return. To
ameliorate this, the state government purchased 20 General
Electric turbines to be used for production, generation and
transmission of electric power. Akpobire said he would like
to provide each region of Delta State what it needs to help
industries located there to survive.

8. (U) U.S. and Dutch companies are reportedly dredging
canals in Delta to improve community access and travel time
to larger cities. One overland canal was recently opened by
the state in cooperation with the Niger Delta Development
Commission (NDDC), Akpobire said. Twelve dredges were
purchased from the Netherlands and another 18 will have to be
purchased, Akpobire estimated. It will take nine years to
complete the canal system planned for the state. Opening
overland canals in the state's riverine areas will take
approximately nine years to plan and complete. Akpobire
reasoned the canals would make the region more secure,
provide employment opportunities, and allow DESOPADEC to
fulfill its mandate. Some youth have already been hired to
take soil and water samples where the state plans to dredge,
Akpobire told Poloffs.

9. (SBU) Akpobire proudly told Poloffs militants have left
the camps to take part in training at a newly opened dredging
training center where they are being taught professional
skills. He predicts 4,500 youth will be weaned from the
militant life and into productive employment. He noted the
importance of offering alternatives to militants and said he
might consider foreign training. He said the militants
suffered a "failure of hope" and need tailored training to
rekindle that hope. Akpobire plans to publicize success
stories in an effort to show youth how they can improve their
lives by abandoning militancy.

---------------------------------------
State, DESOPADEC Seek Reliable Partners
---------------------------------------

10. (U) Akpobire is seeking foreign partners to help build
that state's financial and technical capacity. The Governor
has asked DESOPADEC Chairman Okirika to conduct due process
and due diligence on interested companies to verify their
legitimacy and assess project sustainability and commercial
viability. Okirika wants to work with U.S. companies because
they are held accountable through U.S. courts. Akpobire said
American citizens (Amcits) should not be afraid to visit
Delta State as the area is far safer than it once was; Amcits
are currently working as doctors in the creeks, as part of a
DESOPADEC program that has helped 3,000 persons at eight

LAGOS 00000064 003 OF 003


centers. Okirika is seeking help in accessing drugs and
equipment for these clinics.

11. (SBU) Comment: We have heard numerous development
schemes and business opportunities in the Niger Delta; some
sound feasible, some are larger than life but most fail to
get off the ground. Neither Delta State's nor DESOPADEC's
plans for major infrastructure projects have yet reached the
implementation stage. Interestingly, the project these two
officials described as most advanced was the dredging project
with the NDDC. End Comment.

12. (U) This cable was cleared by Embassy Abuja.
BLAIR

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