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IOCS And GMOU Implementation



A critical  component of the operations and activities of international oil companies (IOCS) in Nigeria, is in the area of community relations. There  is a symbiotic relationship between (IOCS)  and their host communities, and this relationship determines the success or otherwise of the prospecting oil companies in their areas of operation.

However, activities of most of the IOCS  in the Niger Delta had been fraught with conflicts, resulting from the absence of an agreeable community engagement concept that will satisfy the yearnings of the host communities, as well as the corporate  objectivities of the prospective companies.

Consequently, the evolving crisis had brought  untold  consequences  on the  corporate  partners, with a negative  prospect of devaluation of the core values of sustainable development  and corporate  social responsibility  policies in  line with international best practices.

In most communities, such sharp disagreement and lack of consensus had resulted in the  wanton destruction of lives and the facilities of the oil companies.  The ugly trend stifles the growth and expansion of activities of the affected oil companies and also create disharmony  among the host communities.

Analysts had however attributed the perennial  conflicts between oil companies and their host communities in the Niger Delta to what is commonly referred to as “conceited  development  policies”.

Such policies according to analysts, places  the host communities  in an equal partnership with the oil companies, as they are always  at the receiving end and not direct   participants in the process of planning, and execution  of development projects of which they are direct beneficiaries.

This approach to community development, believed to be lacking in consultation had over the years triggered suspicion and mutual  distrust  among oil companies and their  host communities, thereby negatively affecting the prospect  of  a thriving  partnership and corporate  growth  among  IOCS and their  host communities.

However, considering their staggering investment, and also realising the consequences of mutual corporate distrust, arising from the lack of a more acceptable community development model, IOCS are beginning  to evolve a new concept aimed  at attaining its corporate goals.

One of such measures aimed at responding to the imperatives of corporate social responsibilities, in the area of community relation is through the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) which  companies  now sign with communities neighbouring  their  clusters of operation, on agreeable terms.

The new model  which is based on direct participation by the host communities is structurally targeted at addressing past  development lapses and consolidate a thriving partnership between companies  and their host communities.

Most oil  companies  have keyed into the GMOU, process through the  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC Joint Venture. In the course of gathering  confidence in the strategic implementation of the GMOU process, companies  are also expanding the frontiers through  partnership  with Development Agencies   such as the Niger Delta Development Agency NDDC, and the various levels of government.

At the drive of the GMOU process, in Rivers, gathers momentum Chevron Nigeria Limited had taken advantage  of the  community  engagement model to promote it corporate objectives within  communities neighbouring  its clusters of  operation in the state.

Recently at  the Second Annual General  meeting of the Kula Regional Development  council, a body elected to manage the GMOU in Kula Community, the management  of Chevron, used the opportunity to take stock and rekindle its commitment to the process.

The management of the company, which was represented by, Mr. Ngo Kio at the event, expressed appreciation  over  the effort of the Kula RDC in the utilisatioin of available  fund for the  development  of the community. He said the GMOU as a successful  replacement  to the old system  of direct contact  with individual communities, will continue to receive the attention of the company   to promote a harmonious  relationship between  them and the host community.

He also commended its development  partners such as the NDDC, the Rivers State Government  and the Akuku Toru LGA, for the  support and expressed hope that “the interface  will bring  lasting peace in the Niger Delta.”

The Chevron management assured that communities will be encouraged  through funding and capacity  building  to take decisions on their development  process, while the GMOUS will be periodically reviewed based on terms of agreement.

Chairman of the Kula RDC, Hon Stanley Benibo also commended the  management  of Chevron for their   unflinching support to the GMOU process and assured that all money  giving by the company for the GMOU will be judiciously used. Hon Benibo however, cautioned against the erroneous impression by some community members that money voted for the GMOU process should be shared among the people.

According to him “It was disservice to the people for people not to pay back loans collected from the GMOU fund”, and also condemned  the attitude of some beneficiaries  of the evolving transport  scheme who  refused to pay back the money based on terms  of agreement. Such  attitude  he pointed out will  affect the maximal impact of the fund on the people.

In his remark, the Amanyanabo of Opukula, HRM, Dan Opusinji, cautioned against division among the people  and said lasting peace can only return to the embattled Kula community when the people speak in one accord.

Also commenting at the commissioning of Four housing units, at Robertkiri, Boro; Afforiaina, and lucky land, all in Aku LGA, recently, Barr, Charles Opurum who represented  the Rivers  State  Commissioner for chieftaincy  Affairs. Mr. Charles  Okay, suggested to  Chevron, to create  and alternative measure  of dealing directly with Traditional Rulers, rather than the RDCS. He noted that Traditional  rulers as the custodian of the traditional values  deserves, such  Prime attention. He said  RDCS should always  ensure that accountability  is the watchword  to avoid profligacy and mismanagement of available fund.

Similarly, other multinationals, such as total exploration, Mobil Nigeria, Pan Ocean  Limited among others has also adopted direct community engagement  models as approaches of stemming the  pace of disagreement among them and their host communities to avert the drift in sustainable community development .

Another  critical aspect of the GMOU process which  analysts  has canvassed support for is the area of domestication of the  local content policy through  the empowerment of  local  contractors. However, analysts are of the view, that while indigenous  contractors should benefit from the policy, effective monitoring should be put in place to ensure that projects awarded to them are completed according to specification. This arises from the growing tendency  of abuse of projects by indigenous contractors who see projects as means of appeasement rather them platforms for collective economic benefits to the people.

Also in line with the principles of international   best practices in the oil and gas sector, the Rivers State government has through its supervisory Ministry canvassed  for an effective and appropriate   energy policy in the State, especially in the area of community engagement, access to finance, regulatory  frame work and indigenous human capacity development through corporate partnership. These were  part of the recommendations of the international oil and gas  summit in the state.


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Oil & Energy

Nigeria Petitions OPEC+, Demands Quota Increase



The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said he has petitioned the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners known as OPEC+ for an increased oil production quota for Nigeria.
Sylvia revealed this at the Gastech 2021 conference in Dubai, according to S&P Global Platts.
According to him, the country already wrote the group for an increment in its quota.
He said: “We’ve put request on the table, and we expect that to be looked at.
“We have capacity for more production than we are producing right now. Unfortunately, we are constrained by the quota.”
The Minister said the country’s full production capacity of about 2.2 million barrels per day should be reflected in a revised quota, saying that the country’s production struggles is due to technical problems from re-tapping reservoirs that had been shut to comply with the stringent OPEC+ cuts of the past 17 months, adding that production struggles would soon be fixed.
He said output could rebound to around 1.7 million barrels per day by November and two million barrels per day by the end of the year.
“We had some issues from shutting down the reservoirs,” he was quoted as saying by S&P Global Platts.
“When you shut down a reservoir, to restart it, sometimes there are challenges,” he added.

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Oil & Energy

Content Policy Saves $2bn In NLNG Train 7



Nigeria was saved the sum of $2 billion dollars from the ongoing Train 7 of the Nigeria liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) project as a result of using Nigerian firms, says the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr Simbi Wabote
Wabote, stated this last Friday, shortly after receiving the award of African Local Content Icon, from the African Leadership magazine, in Yenagoa.
The NCDMB Executive Secretary, who dismissed the assertion that the Nigerian content policy was costly, and a ploy by foreign interests who do not wish the country to develop, described the claim as blackmail, because experience had shown that the policy was more cost effective for oil firms.
“The Nigerian content policy saves costs, from the projects that the NCDMB have supervised it is clear that it is better for the International Operating Companies in Nigeria, but foreign interests at global levels erroneously say that local content is expensive.
“Before the move to increase the participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas sector, the participation was at about three per cent and previous administrations relied mostly on taxes and revenue and lost sight of the opportunities for Nigerians to get involved in the sector.
“From the oil sector where I am coming from, it is five times more expensive to pay an expatriate than a Nigerian, so how can they say that local content is more expensive ?
“ On the Train 7 project if you look at the cost provided by foreign companies, you have a wide gap of about $ 2 billion from the quotations of the lowest submitted by foreign firms and the highest from Nigerian companies, so local content is better as we ensured that quality was not compromised.
“From 2010 till now, we have come a long way, for instance NLNG had 90 per cent of the workforce as expatriates, but today 90 per cent of the workers are Nigerians with some even occupying top positions in foreign oil firms.
“I am thankful to President Muhamadu Buhari, who gave me the opportunity to practice local content in the public sector, by appointing me in 2016 and reappointing me in 2020,” Wabote said.
On the African Local Content Icon Award bestowed on him, Wabote said that it came to him as a ‘pleasant surprise’ adding that the ideals of the African Leadership Magazine justified his decision to accept the award.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Editor of the African Leadership Magazine, Mr Kingsley Okeke, noted that the process leading to the selection was transparent and independently conducted with nominations received from across the African continent.
“We found in the accomplishment and achievements of the Executive Secretary of the NCDM, a worthy character we must encourage and export to the rest of Africa.
“Our focus at the magazine is to spotlight the positive developments in the African continent and change the narrative and stereotypes by western media,” he said.
The Tide source reports that the African Local Content Icon Award was presented by Mrs Laura Hall, President-elect of the National Black Caucus in the U.S congress, at the headquarters of the NCDMB in Yenagoa.
Hall said that blacks in the United States, represented by the Black Caucus, also have a similar challenge with building local capacity to compete with their white counterparts in executing contracts in the U.S.
She said the caucus would collaborate and share ideas with the NCDMB on ways to increase the capacities of blacks in the U.S.

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Oil & Energy

HOMEF Frowns At PIA Non-Commitment To End Gas Flaring



The Health of Mother Earth Foundation. HOMEF, has expressed displeasure that the Petroleum Industry Act is not definite about ending gas flaring regime in the country.
Executive Director, HOMEF, Rev Nnimmo Bassey, said the Act creates numerous provisions for operators to continue flaring gas unchecked, as it gives power to the Commission to grant operators a permit to flare gas.
Bassey lamented that such permits could easily be abused and turned into a license for unchecked and perpetual environmental and health damage to communities (as has been done previously).
“The Act also does not state the timeframe allowed for flaring in the case of facility start up or for strategic operational reasons
“While the PIA makes the flaring of gas illegal, it nonetheless creates a series of exemptions which ensures that the same gas flare regime continues literarily unchecked.
“The Act identifies instances where gas flaring may be permitted. These include (a) in the case of an emergency; (b) pursuant to an exemption granted by the Commission; or (c) as an acceptable safety practice under established regulations.
“It goes further to clarify that the Authority or Commission may grant a permit to a Licensee or Lessee to allow the flaring or venting of natural gas for a specific period –
(a) where it is required for facility start-up; or
(b) for strategic operational reasons, including testing.
“The section however does not provide an explanation of what ‘strategic operational reasons’ are beyond testing. It also does not state the timeframe allowed for flaring in the case of facility start up or for strategic operational reasons. These provisions could be easily abused and turned into a license for unchecked and perpetual environmental and health damage to communities (as has been done previously).”
HOMEF maintained that to end gas flaring, offenders should be made to pay the full economic cost of the flared gas based on the prevalent market price of gas, as well as the related health and environmental costs.
The environmental rights group also said that the Act does not appear to consider Nigeria’s climate change pledges as contained in the nation’s Nationally Determined Contributions.

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