Aside its contiguous territory of 3,829 square kilometers which traverses land and coastal areas, as well as cultural homogeneity, the Urhobo nation is home to numerous resources, which include 12 oil and gas fields with over 400 oil wells, over 15 per cent of the Nigerian natural gas reserves, and the largest Gas Plant, Utorogu Gas Plant, in Africa South of the Sahara at Otu-Jeremi.
It has other mineral resources such as Sand, Silica, Kaolin, Clay, Baryte and Forest resources such as Timber, Oil palm and Raffia Palm and abundant land for cropping and plantation agriculture.
The Urhobo Nation has eight rivers with access to the Atlantic Ocean; water bodies for aquaculture, recreation and tourism; two seaports at Warri and Sapele; thirty sites for river ports; one airport at Osubi for local flights.
It has one refinery, one petrochemical plant, Nigerian Gas Company, one steel plant, Salt Refining Company, one world class wood processing plant, two glass making companies, two gas-fired electricity generating plants at Ughelli and Sapele and some other industrial clusters.
It has ten LGAs, about fifteen urban centers, sixty bank branches, three universities, two polytechnics and two Colleges of Education. It has approximately one thousand Government Primary Schools, two hundred and fifty Government Secondary Schools and well over two thousand Churches, Mosques and Temples.
It is blessed with abundant qualified manpower in most fields of human endeavour.
Urhobo Natural Resources
Urhobo Natural Resources as bases for Industrial Development
Find below the various natural resources endowed in Urhoboland;
Urhobo territory hosts numerous oil wells in 15 oil fields. Thirteen (13) of the fields are operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), while Pan Ocean Oil Corporation and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) operate one field each. The fields are: Ughelli North L.G.A. (Afiesere fields, Eriemu, Evwreni, UQCC), Ughelli South L.G.A. (Utorogu Fields, Osioka, Ughelli East and Ughelli West, Urhoka in Oviri-Olomu), Ethiope West L.G.A. (Ovadje in Oghara, Oben in Sapele), Ethiope East L.G.A. (Erhobaro – Orogun, Erhoike-Kokori), Udu L.G.A. (Abura Field 1 and 2) and Okpe L.G.A. (Akpobome Field). The oil produced in the proposed Urhobo state is sulphur-free (sweet crude oil). It is a premium crude oil recognized as the best crude oil in the international oil market.
Urhoboland is one of the leading producers of Natural Gas in the Western Niger Delta. The establishment of major gas-based industries in Urhoboland attests to the abundance of natural gas reserves in the area. The gas-based facilities include the following:
- Otorogu Gas Plant, Otu-Jeremi
As stated earlier, this is the largest gas-processing plant in Sub-Saharan Africa. It processes Natural Gas for the Utorogu-Escavos-Lagos gas pipeline, the Egbin Thermal Station in Ikorodu, the Shagamu Cement Factory, Industrial Estates in Ikeja, Ogba and Ilupeju in Lagos and Agbarain Ogun State. The gas also feeds the West African Gas Project that takes Nigerian Gas to Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana. It is proposed that the gas pipeline will be extended to Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Under the NATIONAL GAS MASTER PLAN, the pipeline network to deliver gas to all major cities and industrial zones in the Federation will be fed to a large extent by natural gas from Urhobo land.
- TRANSCORP POWER LIMITED (I – IV) Ughelli
This is the first gas-fired thermal electricity station in South-Western Nigeria. Commissioned in 1966, the station supplies electricity to Benin, Lagos and other parts of the country via the National grid.
- Ogorode Power Station, Sapele
The Ogorode Power Station which was commissioned in 1978 feeds major Nigerian cities and large scale electricity consumers via the National grid. Electricity supply from the station was stepped down for consumers in Sapele and environs only in 2007.
Rivers and Waterways:
Urhobo territory is home to rivers and streams which have endured from primeval times. The rivers are; Ethiope River, Jamieson River, Ologbo/OsiomoRiver, Warri River, Forcados River, Okpare Creek, Edor/Obanegbe Creek, Esaba Creek, Oleri Creek, Eghwu/Oguname Creek, Olota Creek, Arhavwarien Creek, Okumesi Creek, Ogunu-Ekpan Creek, Elume Creek, Hole in the Wall Creek.
The rivers are a treasure-trove of fishes, shrimps, prawns, periwinkles etc, which can sustain a booming fish industry. Apart from being a means of transportation, the rivers and waterways are also a source of water supply. Their aquatic splendour constitutes potential landmarks for tourism.
Urhoboland is endowed with large deposits of clay, sharp sand, silica and drilling mud which can be found in Otor-Edo, Ughevwughe, Esaba-Otutuama, Iwhreogun, and most areas of Ughelli South. These deposits are raw materials for Wall Tiles, Roof Tiles, Floor Tiles, Ceramics, Pottery and Road Construction.
Urhobo is endowed with a vast arable land of about 4000 sq km. This land is suitable for the cultivation of Cassava, Oil Palm, Raffia Palm, Rice, Plantain, Banana, Yam, Sweet Potato, Beans, Groundnuts, Coconut, Coco-yam, Pepper, Melon, Mango, Orange, Paw-paw, Sugar Cane, Pineapple, Alligator Pepper, Spices, Bamboo, Timber, Rubber, etc. The Urhobo environment has also been most conducive for Poultry, Piggery, Grass-cutter rearing, Rabbitery, Snailery and other forms of animal husbandry. Fish farming is also a viable agricultural enterprise thriving in Urhoboland.
The Oil Palm industry in the proposed Urhobo State has potentials for dozens of agro-industrial products and the employment of thousands of people. The Oil Palm industry was the bedrock of Urhobo economy for over 150 years before the advent of petroleum.
Rubber thrives in the proposed Urhobo state. There are numerous rubber plantations owned by private individuals in most communities and a large rubber plantation owned by PAMOL (a division of UAC) at Oghara. The proposed Urhobo State hosts a significant proportion of rubber processing factories in Nigeria.
The proposed Urhobo state is situated in the tropical rain forest. There is an abundance of trees for lumber and wood based industries. The African Timber and Plywood (AT&P) factory located in Sapele in Urhoboland was the largest hardwood factory in the world.
Raphia hookeri and vinifera thrive very well in Urhobo area. The industrial products from raffia palm include Gin, Beverages, Yeast, Paper, Brushes, Bags, Sieves, Medicinal Oils and Balms. The raffia palm is also used for Ethanol and Bio-fuel production.
Cassava is cultivated all over the proposed Urhobo State. Cassava-based Industry encompasses the following: Garri Grains, Edible Starch, Industrial Starch for the manufacture of car Batteries, Textiles, Coating for Drugs and Pharmaceutical Products, Plaster of Paris, Paper, Cassava Chips/Pellets, Animal Feeds, Bread and Biscuits, Cassava leaves for export, etc.
With the extensive Waterways and Wetlands, Urhoboland is a natural habitat of fishes. Studies have identified over 100 species of fishes in this part of the Niger Delta. There are great potentials for a fishing industry including aquaculture that will create jobs and wealth for thousands of people in the proposed state.
Urhobo is the epicenter of the road transportation network in the Western Niger Delta. The Federal Inter-State road network comprising four major Federal Highways converges at Effurun. They are the Benin-Warri Highway, Effurun-Ughelli-Patani-Port Harcourt East-West Highway, Effurun-Eku-Agbor-Ubiaja-Auchi Highway and the Warri Port – Delta Steel Company Highway.