Energy Expert Blames Sabotage On Host Com Exclusion

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The decision by the Federal Government to delay the implementation of the community engagement standards in Niger-Delta may have resulted in the spate of unwholesome activities in the region, an energy expert, Meka Olowola, has said.
Olowola in a chat with newsmen yesterday argued that the inability of the government to review its strategy and approach to conflict resolution in the region is having negative consequences on the country’s oil earnings.
The negative consequences of the activities according to him, include pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft and other untoward practices in the region, adding that the development has slowed down oil production in Nigeria.
Speaking on strategies to reducing vandalism and theft in the sector, Olowola said the implementation of the engagement standards is inevitable, if the country must put an end to such activities.
He emphasised the need for Federal Government to review the comprehensive standards and principles of community engagement put forward by sustainability inclined stakeholders in the sector led by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER II) in Nigeria, CSR-in-Action.
He said standards are products of painstaking research and will help in laying solid structures to tackle community conflicts and reduce oil theft as well as illegal bunkering.
He identified commitment to acceptable engagement standards across the value chain as a panacea to incessant conflicts in communities that play host to oil and gas exploration companies and counselled that Nigeria should enforce the much-needed discipline in the oil and gas sector, which according to him is currently marred with violence and corruption.
Olowola said the challenges facing both oil companies and communities in the Niger Delta region could be prevailed over with proper stakeholder engagement and communication.
He stressed that the need for oil companies to engage in multilayered dialogue with host communities and the government could not be overestimated, saying the community engagement standards gives insights as to how this can be achieved using real-life scenarios.
He specifically said: “The rising tension between oil companies in the upstream sector and their host communities call for a multi-stakeholder engagement approach. Companies need to see their host communities as business partners and as such must do everything possible to ensure that the relationship is mutually as beneficial as possible. The change of outlook will invariably impact the attitude of members of oil-producing states towards companies”
‘’Following the establishment of clear communication lines between all stakeholders, oil companies must proceed to launch sustainable and far-reaching CSR activities.
“The practice of CSR transcends charitable donations and companies need to obtain a full understanding of this fact which will change the conduct of firms across the nation. The Community Engagement Standards codifies the best approach to optimising the gains of the oil & gas sector”