The brewing conflicts between oil companies and their host communities in the Niger Delta over a breach of agreements signed by the corporate partners have generated concerns among stakeholders.
Worried by the increasing spate of disagreement between oil firms and their host communities, an expert in the oil and gas sector, Dr Eddie Wikina, has called on all multinationals and corporate organisations operating in the Niger Delta to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed with their host communities.
Wikina who spoke with The Tide in an exclusive interview recently, said the flouting of MoUs and the absence of sustainable community development policies among various oil firms and corporate organisations were the root causes of underdevelopment and conflicts in the Niger Delta.
He pointed out that; “modern industry practices require that both the oil firms and the host communities operate in mutual agreement and synergy through a well community engagement model that would be subject to upward reviews to suit evolving developments to avert crisis.”
He noted that oil related conflict has been a predominant feature of the Niger Delta over the years and urged prospecting oil firms and other corporate organisations in the region to learn from the experiences of the past and improve their host community relations by contributing meaningfully to the development of their host communities.
The expert in Petroleum Engineering said host communities were major stakeholders in the oil and gas business, noting that their active participation in the sector was an elixir to smooth business operation According to him, “it’s certain that that business activities can’t strive in an environment where there is mutual disagreement and incessant conflicts; global standards in oil and gas business require that host communities be given their due sense of belonging to promote peace and development.
The business concern must be accommodative of the development interest of the host communities, any company that glosses over the interest of its host communities is bound to face challenges.”
Wikina cautioned against the influx of substandard oil firms in the Niger Delta and called on the Federal Government to enact laws that will compel multinationals to implement all agreements signed with their host communities.
“Not all companies that prospect for oil in the Niger Delta has the capacity for effective business operation, some of them don’t have the industry experience and lack the potency to make the right impact”, he said.
He said the implantation of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would address the inherent challenges in the oil and gas sector, especially in the development of oil and gas producing communities.
RSG Lauds Refining Firm’s Friendly Policies
The Rivers State government has commended Niger Delta Refineries Limited, an indigenous petroleum refining company, based in the state, for its friendly policies on environment and community relations.
The State Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Banigo, made the commendation, when she led members of the House of Assembly Committee on Environment and officials of the State Ministry of Environment on a facility visit to the company.
She said the state government, was aware of the company’s positive impact within and outside its area of operation, appreciated its impact on environment and in community relations.
According to her, the state government is interested in modular refineries in order to discourage illegal refineries as well as safeguard the lives of the people of Rivers.
“We want to discourage illegal refineries to save lives and ensure a safe environment.
“ We are also interested in knowledge transfer and job creation for our teeming youths,” she said.
Earlier, the company’s General Manager (Refineries/Projects), Mr Femi Olaniyan, who conducted Banigo’s team around the facility, said the company established about 25 years ago was operating on Ogbele Field Oil Mining Lease (OML) 54 in Rivers.
He said the company’s vision was to be completely indigenous, adding that it was 95 per cent owned by Nigerians.
According to Olaniyan, the refinery is managed by Nigerians with proven expertise and track record.
“As early as 2006, our company decided to eliminate gas flaring and a gas processing plant was built and commissioned.
“Now, we are the only indigenous company to supply gas to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in Bonny Island here in Rivers state.
“We have so far supplied over 50 billion tons of gas to LNG in Bonny. In 2011, we built 1,000 barrels per day production facility.
“We now produce three trucks of diesel per day from our plant here.
“We also produce diesel in commercial quantity with customers drawn from the North East, North West, Abuja, Lagos and so on,” he said.
He also told the team that in 2016, the company commenced the expansion of its refinery to an integrated facility to produce up to 11,000 barrels of jet fuel, diesel, marine diesel and heavy fuel oil per day, adding that the expanded facility would commence full operations by May 2020.
Olaniyan further said that the company, which also produced gas for domestic consumption, “has since Jan. 26, 2019 clocked one million man hours with zero lost time injuries.”
“Our facility, a subsidiary of Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc, is privately owned and can convert Naphtha to petrol with 60 per cent of its labour force from the community and has no negative safety issues.
“A considerable number of Nigerians have gained from our deliberate efforts to ensure knowledge transfer,’’ Olaniyan said.
Power Supply: AfDB Set To Invest $200m In Nigeria
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to invest 200 million dollars through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to boost power supply in Nigeria.
The Acting Vice President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth Complex (AFDB) Mr Wale Shonibare, said this when he led some management staff of the bank on a visit to the Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba in Abuja on Monday.
Shonibare, also the Director, Energy and Installation in the bank, said that the AfDB board had approved 200 million dollars for the sector through REA to support the roll out of mini grids.
“The AFDB is very active in the power sector of Nigeria and we are ready to do more, the board has approved 200 million dollars to the sector through the REA.
“We are supporting the programme to roll out mini grids across the country and also to encourage productive use of the grids to upgrade communities
“We are also involved in energising education, a programme under which we are dedicating power systems to eight federal universities,’’ he said.
Shonobare said that the bank was also very involved in the transmission sector of the country as it had a 410 million dollars project to support transmission.
According to him, 200 million dollars has already been approved by AfDB board for phase one to improve transmission lines and provision of sub-stations.
“I understand that the agreement was signed last week and we expect the project to progress.
“We are involved in the Jigawa power project, we have approved a grant of one million dollars to support the feasibility study for phase one and the studies are almost completed.
“We are aware of the issues in the sector and we are working with all the players in the sector, the regulators, NBET all along the value chain looking at how we can make the sector efficient,’’ he said.
Responding, the Minister of State, Jedy-Agba said that the federal government was willing to do more in partnership with AfDB to provide electricity for Nigerians.
Jedy-Agba said that power was the bedrock of development, adding that if the country could get it right with technology, they could also do same with power.
He said that Nigeria was in the process of increasing its power generation capacity and the sector as it was keying into funds available by the AfDB to enhance further growth in the sector.
“AfDB had been investing in the sector and they planned to invest more by increasing their funding in development of the power sector,’’ he said.
He assured the AfDB team that any money given to the power sector would be judiciously utilised and accounted for.
PHED Links Power Outage To TCN’s Technical Fault
The Port Harcourt , Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, has disclosed that the power outage being experienced by the residents of Elelenwo, Old Oyigbo, Rivers State Television station and its environs, Onne, Bori since Friday, March 6, 2020 was due to a faulty auxiliary transformer belonging to Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.
The power distribution company, in a press statement however, stated that the technical crew from the TCN had already been mobilised to the station to ensure that the fault was rectified as soon as possible.
The statement added that power supply will be restored at the affected areas as soon as the fixing of the technical fault was completed.
The statement, solicited for the patience of its esteemed customers that were affected by the forced outage, while waiting for the restoration.
The company also restated its commitment to quality service delivery to its members.
Meanwhile, some residents of the affected areas have lamented the effects of the outage on their businesses.
A cross section of the residents who spoke with our correspondent, called on PHED and other relevant authorities to fix the problem and restore power supply in the area.
The residents also called on PHED to live up to its new policies on enhanced service delivery to enhance its business profile and earn the confidence of its teeming customers.
One resident, Comrade Michael Budum, who spoke with The Tide, said power supply had been one of the major challenges in the area.
He said , “I want to use this opportunity to urge PHED to improve on its services to earn the confidence of its customers, let people get results form their power bills through power delivery services”.
By: Taneh Beemene
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