‘95% clean-up necessary before oil exploration in Ogoniland’
The Federal Government has been advised to address the environmental degradation of Ogoni land by at least 95 per cent before discussing resumption of exploration activities in the oil-rich community.
The Managing Director, Mudiame International Limited, Sunny Eromosele, who gave the advice yesterday in Abuja, stated that the current administration is gradually inviting anarchy to the region.
Eromosele, a Niger Delta indigene, who has operated an oil servicing firm in the region for the past 30 years equally doubted the credibility of the Federal Government in managing the situation, nothing that the many failed promises by the government have created distrust in the mind of the people.
Reacting to a presidential directive to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC), to take over operation of the entire Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11 from the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Eromosele said the state-oil-firm lack the financial capability to fully maximize the opportunities in the block.He equally urged the government to give the community a sense of ownership, adding that the region would not give up unless there is resource control.
OML 11 is regarded as one of Nigeria’s most important oil assets, containing 33 oil and gas fields. Eight are reportedly producing. The lease is currently being operated by a Joint Venture of which the NNPC owns 55 per cent, Shell 30 per cent, Total 15 per cent, and Agip five per cent.
A memo signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, dated March 1, 2019 with reference number SH/COS/24/A/8540, directed the corporation to take over OML 11 from Shell.
The letter directed “NNPC/NPDC to take over the operatorship, from Shell Petroleum Development Company, of the entire OML 11 not later than 30 April 2019 and ensure smooth re-entry given the delicate situation in Ogoni Land.
Eromosele insisted that government must consistently deploy a peaceful approach in the region to unsure continuous development of the country, since the nation is largely dependent oil and gas to survive.
“If government use the current approach, it could lead to another crisis. I don’t know the strategy government will deploy but taking the block from SPDC to a government entity is not the best.
“Government needs to do the cleaning up of the degraded environment to boost confidence. The promises made by the government should be fulfilled. The government will not make progress without the right approach.
“The blood of the Ogoni people has been shed and it is the government that was responsible. The people will resist unless the Ogoni cleanup is about 95 per cent completed and the people are properly informed about any decision that is to be taken,” he noted.
Speaking on the capacity of NPDC, Eromosele noted that the resources of the company would be overburdened without partners, who would jointly develop the blocks.“One thing is to give another is to develop. NPDC does not have the resource, so sustaining the oil wells may be a challenge,” he said.