Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited (EPCL) has commenced export of petrochemical products from its plants in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
This feat is coming barely six months after operations at the multi-million Naira plant was restored, following its acquisition, rehabilitation and commissioning by the new management / owners, Indorama Group, in October last year.
The countries that are currently being supplied by the company's high-grade products to include France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, and Turkey in Europe, as well as India, China, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, Nepal and Vietnam in Asia, and Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Togo, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Cote d'Ivoire and South Africa in Africa.
Said Nkwocha, "Apart from exports, EPCL's focus still remains the domestic market. We have been very aggressive in the domestic market. In the last four months, we have already covered 60 per cent of domestic market in our product segment, replacing the imported material and saving foreign exchange worth millions of dollars."
Almost all the large domestic players in the plastic industry, he pointed out, are currently using EPCL products in their factories, adding that efforts are being made to expand the scope of its domestic market.
Part of the efforts, he disclosed, includes the opening of a new warehouse in Lagos, to service customers from the south-west part of the country, while another one is planned for Kano, to service the Northern market, in addition to the one at EPCL Complex in Port Harcourt.
Indorama Group, which operates in eight countries around the world, acquired 75 per cent in EPCL last May under the federal government privatization programme. The plant, reputed to be the only of its kind in the West African sub-region, was commissioned in 1985 as a subsidiary of the NNPC, to utilise the residual waste products of the oil industry for the production of polypropylene, polyethylene and butene.
Before its closure, the plant hardly produced beyond 35 and 40 per cent of its capacity. The situation has changed since the plant was re-commissioned last October and production restored in November.
"Indorama is committed to EPCL objectives. Its relationship with the immediate community is excellent. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed soon with the community, to spell out the terms and define the scope of responsibilities on both sides. Already, 65 per cent of the company's employees are Nigerians, most from the host communities," Nkwocha said.