Even as most Nigeri
ans currently struggle with the effects of the austerity measures declared by the Federal Government in response to the present economic reality in the country, the people of Bodo community in Gokana local government area of Rivers State are celebrating their economic fortune.
From the right, left and centre of this Ogoni community, many new buildings are being erected, old ones undergoing massive renovations; new fishing gears, canoes, vehicles and wholesome household items are being acquired.
This socio-economic boom in Bodo is as result of the N25 billion compensation paid to the natives by the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell Production Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) for a massive oil spill in the area in 2008.
Reliving the situation in an interview with The Tide in his house on Thursday, the Chairman, Bodo Council of Chiefs, Chief Livinus Kiebel, said “Bodo is agog. People who have not seen N10,000 before in their life are receiving at least N600,000.00 individual claims, as compensation, so you can see the joy in our faces, people dancing and women celebrating. It has never happened before in the community.
It is a long battle that started since 2008 when the community suffered a major oil spill from SPDC’s 28-inch pipeline from Bodo to Bonny Trans Atlantic, laid as far back as 1958,” he said.
He said due to the effect of salt water and corrosion on the pipes, there was rapture eruption and spill which gushed out uncontrollably for over one month polluting the water, killing seafoods, mangrove and in face all the acquatic life in the area.
Kiebel stated that when the community drew the attention of the oil company to the serious situation, “as usual, SPDC denied responsibility and started giving one excuse or the other. It said the spill was caused by a third party and illegal bunkering activities. And for over one month, the crude kept gushing.
“But we stood our ground, insisting that Shell must pay compensation. When we realised the company would not budge, we took our matter to the government through the Ministry of Environment at the state and federal levels and also drew the attention of some relevant NGOs and civil society organisaitons”, he said.
The Bodo Chiefs councils chairman remarked that when SPDC discovered that Bodo community meant business, they brought their experts and because of the influence of the joint negotiation between SPDC, Government, NGOs and civil society groups, the company accepted the spill was as a result of equipment failure and there fore accepted responsibility.
He disclosed that at first, the company applied its divide-and-rule system by covnering the youths and promising to pay them N10 million and that this angered the youths who reported the ploy to the entire community.
Kiebel, who is a former local government chairman said the community hired the services of a legal luminary and son of Ogoni, B.M Wifa (SAN) who then sued SPDC before a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.
When that was moving at a slow speed because of the oil politics in Nigeria and the unwillingness of Federal Government to show interest, the community decided to drag Shell to The Heague.
“One of our sons, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, suggested a legal firm, Leighday and Company – a legal firm which he uncovered through research had successfully handled similar matters in Africa insisting we could get justice through the law firm,” he continued, saying Leighday effectively handled the matter.
According to him, representatives of the firm were in Bodo Creek to Bonny and all over the community boarders to see the extent of the spill and damages and at last sued for both individual and communal claims.
Form more than six months, he said Leighday law firm interviewed our people, filmed and captured in many forms, cases of those whose livelihood depend on the sea and after the legal battle, Shell settled for a compensation of N25 billion, which was below but we decided to accept the offer.
Commending the Leiyhday law firm, Kiebel said they were professional and straight forward in their approach and the ability of the firm to secure justice for Bodo community has brought transformation to the area as the people happily invest their money into many economic activities.
One of the women told The Tide that, the name Leighday is a source of big joy to her and her family.
“I have five children. I received a huge sum and my children also got theirs individually and when we pooled the money together, it was like a big dream.
I thank Leighday, I thankGod for the turn around the development has brought to my family.
The respondent who identified herself as Mama Lebari noted that even women and youths who do not know how to speak English Language all know and sing with the name Leighday.
Another respondent, Mercy Job said, “I now own my own beauty Salon. I leant Salon business for past 5 years but could not open my own shop.
But today this big shop is mine and the next store with provisions and foodstuff is also mine. I thank Jehovah for his blessings.
“If I marry and born any child whether male or female, I don’t care, I will name that child “Leighday” to mark the time I met this turn around in my life,”she said.
Job said her family was living in a very small family house of three rooms but today, they have almost completed a five-bedroom flat with a three-room boys quarter.
A Bodo-based businessman who hails from Abia State, Charles Amobi, said he deals on building materials and that the economic transformation has reflected well in his business.
“The sale I normally make for one week before, I atimes make that in one day and my customers pay instead of buying on credit. I hope that this situation will remain,” he remarked.
The Tide gathered that churches in the community are also richer because of the economic boom in the community. Chief Kiebel who confirmed this said, “my church, St Patrick Catholic Church, has gotten N20 million through tithe and appreciations for members who received the compensation.
As a mark of appreciation, the traditional ruler also said the community was arranging a special package to Leighday legal firm which he could not disclose to me as a way of appreciating the firms support to his people.
However, the good fortune is not going without adverse effects on the community.
According to kiebel, two cases have been brought before his palace. “Some husbands have fallen apart from their wives. They asked their wives to bring their share so that they could combine it as part of joint account but the women refused and are asking for divorce instead,” said Kiebel.
He also said, that more young men are acquiring wives now that the money is available.
Chris Oluoh &
Reactions Trail Protest At NLNG Facility In Bonny
Reactions are now trailing the protest by Finima community against the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited in Bonny, Rivers State and the counter protest, which led to destruction of properties and bodily injuries on the protesters.
The lawmaker representing Bonny/Degema Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Farah Dagogo, said the protest and the unfortunate violence would not have happened, if oil and gas multinationals operating in the Niger Delta, were doing things the right way.
Dagogo who described the violence as unfortunate, said it was a sad reflection of the sour relationship that now exist between companies and their host communities, as brothers were being pitched against brothers.
He urged the aggrieved people of Finima Community and all others in Bonny LGA to sheath their swords, adding that other means of getting a workable solution that would be beneficial to all, are being explored.
“The violence that was witnessed in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State between Finima community youths and other alleged youths of the LGA was unfortunate, and a sad reflection of the sour and acrimonious relationship that now exist between companies and their host communities.
“The peaceful protest against the NLNG, over the propriety or otherwise of a General Memorandum of Understanding, which was intercepted and later turned violent that has now left many injured and properties razed, would not have been necessary in the first place if things were done the right way.
“While apportioning blames now may not get the desired outcome , it is nevertheless instructive to note that the people of Finima Community and the various impacted communities in the Niger Delta and beyond, where the NLNG gas pipeline passed through, are within their rights to legitimately demand for what is theirs,” Farah said.
Meanwhile, the management of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, has confirmed that there was a protest and counter protest, which led to blockade of the major routes to its facility in Bonny Island on Thursday.
NLNG General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Eyono Fatayi-Williams, in a statement said as a good corporate citizen, the company applies the principle of fairness and inclusiveness in engaging with its esteemed stakeholders.
“The Company has always considered all stakeholders in the community trusted partners, and it continues to maintain this position.
“NLNG remains fully committed to sustainable development in the kingdom, hinged on active community participation to drive initiatives and projects that positively impact the lives of the community.”
This Tiny Country Could Become Europe’s Newest Oil Producer
It is rather rare to see enthusiasm for completely new exploration projects in Europe. The overwhelming majority of OECD countries are either in terminal decline or are looking into ways how to ban exploration altogether. The less-appraised parts of Eastern Europe might still have some potential yet in the absence of oil majors such endeavors risk remaining a lifelong pipe dream. Still, the appearance of a new European frontier can rekindle upstream hopes (even if for a short period of time). Europe’s latest addition to the list of nations willing to tap into their prospective hydrocarbon resources is located in the southeast of the Old Continent, in Montenegro. The small ex-Yugoslav republic with just slightly more than 600 000 inhabitants has witnessed its first offshore well spudded on March 25, 2021. The 4118-5-1 wildcat was drilled in 100 meters of water to a total depth of 6525 meters, some 25km from the Montenegrin shore.
The first offshore Montenegrin well was spudded by the ENI-NOVATEK tandem, with the Italian major taking on the reins of operatorship. Given the geographic proximity, ENI’s interest in offshore Montenegro is quite understandable and was to be expected. In case of any discovery, ENI has the convenient option of accommodating prospective production within its system, the Italian shore is only 500km from the wildcat’s location. The first well is targeting an oil reservoir at depths of 6.5km, implying that the Italian major’s 120kbpd Taranto Refinery might be a safe backstop for any potential crude produced. Along with Total, ENI has been one of the most active drillers in the Mediterranean, marking suchsupergiant discoveries as the Egyptian Zohr or the Cypriot Calypso. Across the Adriatic from Montenegro, ENI has been developing the Aquila field offshore Brindisi,producing medium density crude of some 36° API.
The case for NOVATEK’s participation in an offshore project is much more peculiar, considering that the Russian gas producer has no assets in the Adriatic.Moreover, NOVATEK is on the US’ Sectoral Sanctions Identifications (SSI) List, meaning that equity investments and financing matters are substantially encumbered. Luckily for the Russian firm, offshore Montenegro does not fall under any of the three sanctioned areas, Russian deepwater, Arctic offshore, and shale. Domestically, NOVATEK is heavily focused on gas production on the Gydan peninsula and in the surrounding area, compelling it to seek new niches it can fill, new frontiers that could serve as bases for future growth. In a sense, NOVATEK needs to overgrow its LNG specialization and gain market-relevant competence in other segments, too.
NOVATEK’s first step into the foreign offshore segment took place in Lebanon where it landed two offshore blocks in a consortium with Total and ENI in 2018. In both cases NOVATEK did not lay claims to operatorship, focusing on building up key relationships with Europe’s leading drillers. It seems very likely that it is from the Lebanese joint experience that the Montenegrin drilling ambition branched out into a separate work track. Concurrently, although Montenegro is one of the hottest candidates for EU accession, Podgorica remains beyond the bounds of the European Union. For NOVATEK this is a great boon, as sanctions risk can be negotiated directly with the relevant national authorities, i.e. no involvement of Brussels is required.
Technically,the Montenegrin offshore area has already seen exploration drilling, though that was back in the SFRY (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) times, in 1980. Although Yugoslavia was a socialist country with all its peculiarities, it was the US major Chevron that was the operator of drilling operations. The Jadran Juzni (Southern Adria) prospect turned out to wield signs of oil and gas systems which, however, were deemed non-commercial,effectively closing Chevron’s offshore endeavors in Yugoslavia. It needs to be pointed out that the current wildcat is farther off the Montenegrin coast the Jadran Juzni well was only 3km from shore. To carry out the drilling, the ENI-NOVATEK tandem contracted the Topaz Driller, a Panama-flagged jack-up drilling rig. The contract was clinched in July 2020, for drilling operations starting in Q1 2021 and taking up to 180 days.
Up to now the work progress of ENI-NOVATEK seems fairly solid. In late 2018 their contractor has carried out a comprehensive 3D seismic survey on the 4118-5 Block, then the summer of 2019 witnessed a string of hydrophysical and geophysical surveys on the prospects. Having completed this, it was assumed that the spudding of the first well would take place in 2020, however, the coronavirus-triggered chaos upended all plans and effectively delayed the wildcat into 2021. Most probably the Italo-Russian joint venture will drill 2 wildcats. Even if the first well turns out to be completely dry or non-commercial, the second well (expected to be spudded in May-June 2021) is targeting gas plays at lower depths, i.e. the first well’s fiasco does not automatically foreshadow the failure of the second well.
According to media reports, it will take ENI 4-5 months to finalize the drilling of the wildcat and assess the results. Nevertheless, Montenegro’s offshore zone might more activity coming up in the upcoming months. The Greek Energean holds 2 license blocks (4219-26 and 4218-30) and is expected to take a decision on whether it intends to proceed with drilling exploratory wells in its acreage. The data to assess the blocks’ resource bounty is already there, Energean carried out 3D seismic surveying on both blocks in 2019 already. The spark of interest towards its off shore zone might compel the Montenegrin authorities to expedite a 2nd offshore bidding round which would presumably cover the 7 remaining unallotted blocks. There is very little probability that Podgorica will be trying to auction off onshore blocks,especially considering their history of dry wells.
Katona is a contributor.
By: Viktor Katona
‘NCDMB’ll Not Invest In Businesses With Competitive Private Players’
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has said that it only partners with strategic policies and projects that are promoted by the Federal Government and would not invest in oil and gas businesses that have competitive private players.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, made the clarification recently when he hosted members of the Women in Energy Oil and Gas (WEOG) Nigeria, led by their President, Dr. Oladunni Owo at the Board’s liaison office in Abuja.
He clarified that the Board would not invest in competitive business areas because such investments would compromise its morale position as a regulatory agency.
“Our role is to act as a catalyst of strategic government policies and programmes and we exit once those businesses become successful,” he added.
He also stated that NCDMB is a regulatory agency and not an interventionist organisation and would not get involved in programmes outside its mandate.
According to him, in line with the Board’s vision to serve as a catalyst for the industrialisation of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors, the NCDMB has partnered with investors in modular refineries, manufacturing of LPG cylinders, LPG Depots, gas processing facilities, lube oil production plant, and a methanol plant using gas as feed stock.
Speaking further, Wabote listed some policies introduced by the Board to support women in the oil and gas industry to include the inauguration of the Diversity Sectorial Working Group in the Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF) and the creation of the Women in Oil and Gas Product in the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund).
He explained that the Bank of Industry (BoI) is responsible for managing the NCI Fund, assessing applications and disbursing loans to approved companies.
He said “the NCI Fund is one of the most successful loan schemes. About 98 percent of the borrowers are paying back because we go through a very rigorous process”.
Dwelling on the Project 100 Initiative of the Board, the Executive Secretary stated that it was designed to nurture 100 wholly owned oil and gas service providers in a competitive and sustainable way through targeted interventions, into larger scale players that create high impact.
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