Thursday, 21st September 2023

Ondo oil-producing communities accuse oil firm of neglect

By Adewale Momoh, Akure
07 June 2023   |   12:00 pm
Oil-producing communities in Ondo State have alleged marginalisation by an oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Ltd, in award of contracts in the communities.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 31, 2020, a Chevron gas station in Novato, California. – Chevron reported a fourth-quarter loss on January 29, 2021, to conclude a rocky year for oil companies as the coronavirus battered demand for petroleum products. The US oil giant, which trimmed staff and slashed capital spending to ride out the downturn, finished the year with a loss of $5.5 billion, compared with earnings of $2.9 billion in 2019. (Photo by JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Threaten showdown over marginalisation
Oil-producing communities in Ondo State have alleged marginalisation by an oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Ltd, in award of contracts in the communities.

The communities, under the aegis of Amalgamation of Ilaje Ugbo Coastal Communities Association (AMAICOMMA), accused the multinational oil firm of compromising the equipment supply bidding process for the Panther Drilling Project.

The communities, which expressed dissatisfaction over their exclusion in the award of contracts, threatened show down unless the oil firm reverses to the normal practice of engaging local contractors from the area for the supply of equipment.

According to the chairman of the association, Wole Ogungbeje and Secretary, Kehinde Omoyele, in a statement, none of the contracts for supply of equipment for the project was given to Ilaje contractors despite some of them participating in the bidding process.

Other executive members who jointly signed the statement include Kehinde Aladetan (Vice Chairman I), Alex O. Ikuesan (Vice Chairman II), Richard Alomore (Legal Adviser), Dapo Ojajuni (REMAS Committee Chairman) and Abayomi Ezekiel (Field Coordinator).

AMAICOMMA, which gave the oil firm a 72-hour ultimatum to back down on its action, claimed that the usual practice of nominating local contractors from Ilaje for equipment supply had been compromised by Chevron for personal interest.

It stressed that other ethnic groups were usually favoured over Ilaje.

The communities, therefore, demanded that the oil firm should disclose the total numbers and identities of the call-off contractors shortlisted for the drilling operations and that the communities’ due benefits, equipment supply, call-out contracts, and other entitlements be communicated and given to them before mobilising for drilling operations.

Ogungbeje said: “Chevron Nigeria Limited is about to ignite another crisis that is capable of impacting on oil production activities in Ilaje offshore territory of Ondo State. AMAICOMMA communities of Ugboland is the mandate area of Chevron’s offshore operations in Ondo State.

“AMAICOMMA communities from time immemorial have been continually shortchanged by Chevron Nigeria Ltd., while other ethnic groups are usually favoured in terms of allocations of opportunities and benefits, such as equipment supply, call-off contracts, registration of Ilaje AMAICOMMA contractors, and other opportunities.

“The most recent is the fraud against the collective interest of AMAICOMMA communities of Ilaje offshore operations by Chevron in relation to the shallow water drilling (Project Panther) that is about to commence.”

He further stated that he “unequivocally demands the reversal of the erroneously and purportedly sent job opportunity mail to the yet unregistered Ugbo Trust by PGPA and channelling the same job opportunities to AMAICOMMA, which should include all benefits, opportunities, entitlements, and privileges accruable to AMAICOMMA communities from the upcoming drilling operations.

“It will interest everyone to know that all the equipment for the Panther drilling project has been hijacked by Chevron’s top managerial staff in favor of different contractors where they have interest, as no single one was given to any Ilaje contractors despite the fact that some of our local contractors participated in the equipment supply bidding process for the Panther drilling project.”