Background of Port Harcourt in Nigeria and its Links with the Oil Industries
|December 2, 2013||Posted by Vishal under Nigeria Business Visa||
Port Harcourt, often referred to as the garden city, is positioned in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, and is the capital of River state. With a fast growing economy, Port Harcourt has a population of over 1.7 million and that figure is expected to rise substantially over the next two to five years. Initially the port was created in order to export coal found by the celebrated geologist Albert Ernest Kitson some 250 kilometres away in Engue in 1909. Originally named Iguocha, Port Harcourt was renamed after the then Secretary of State for the Colonies Lewis Vernon Harcourt as he was one of the main proponents at that time for British and Nigerian parliamentary amalgamation. Although the majority speak English, the predominant – and indigenous language is Igbo. The port first went into production in 1915 but it was not long before it was evident that the black bituminous coal that had caused such an excitement was in actual fact of an inferior quality, and was subsequently used mainly within the colonies as an important power resource for the expanding infrastructure.
With the discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri in 1956, Port Harcourt again became the focal point for the emergent Nigerian oil economy, which was quickly followed up by the modernisation program that can be witnessed today as a testament to the prowess of the petroleum industry. Built by the Adian Volker Civil Engineering Company who began work in 1980, the Federal Ocean Terminal in Port Harcourt boasts a massive 1320 metre long quay, with alongside depth of ten metres with an area of over five-hundred thousand square metres taking up the industrial section of the terminal.
Port Harcourt saw exponential growth in the 1980s, due in a major part to the much documented secession of the Republic of Biafra some years earlier. The foremost oil-refining city in Nigeria, Port Harcourt City is as major centre for multinational business within the petroleum industry, and now the second largest commercial city in Nigeria. Some of the biggest exports from the hinterland of Port Harcourt are Palm oil, Palm kernels, Coal, Timber, Tin, Columbite, Peanuts and of course Petroleum. Oil companies currently located in Port Harcourt include:
- Chibaik Steel Link Limited – specialising in the production of oil tools
- Sudelettra Nigeria Limited – specialising in oil and gas services
- Uchman Energy and Logistics Nigeria Limited – specialising in oil and gas field services
- Oiltech Engineering Services Limited – specialising in oil and gas services
- Global Offshore Drilling Limited – specialising in oil and gas field services
- Grammer Petroserve Nigeria Limited – specialising in oil and gas services.
Now the undisputed headquarters of Nigeria’s growing hydrocarbon industry, each year the city hosts ‘The Port Harcourt International Oil and Gas Summit’ known as PHIOGS, where the senior oil and gas players from across the African region strategise and showcase fresh innovations. The summit is a notable opportunity for networking, and regularly draws the biggest of the oil and gas companies to the heart of African oil export. As industry fuelled by the private sector, it is supported by the ‘Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture’ known as PHCCIMA, as well as the ‘Petroleum Engineering Technology Association of Nigeria’ known as PETAN, and the ‘National Association of Small Scale Industries’ known as NASSI. As an essential industrial centre, the Port is also home to the Trans-Amadi Industrial Estate, which is located some ten miles to the north. Boasting over one thousand hectares, this site includes manufacturers of aluminium products, paper, glass bottles, and tires. Thanks to its excellent rail, air and highway links making distribution simple, the town also manufactures cigarettes, structured steel, cement products and more besides.
When visiting Port Harcourt if you are not a Nigerian national you will need to ensure that you have a valid Nigerian visa. These can be obtained through any of the Nigerian High Commission embassies which can be accessed online in a user friendly environment. For your own peace of mind you would be advised to apply for your Nigerian visa as early as possible, and defiantly no less than four weeks before you plan to visit. Your Nigerian visa will dispatched pertaining to the stated reason for your stay, so ensure that you define your requirements for tourist or business stay on your Nigerian visa application. Be sure to search for the most competitive prices for flights and accommodation, as prices will vary depending on your time, flexibility, flight provider etc. Most of all relax and enjoy your visit to Nigeria.
This post was written by Vishal Mavadia, Business Director Visa Services London