By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), says the existing peace in Kula community in Rivers is the best to ensure smooth operation of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25 flow station.
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, said this on at the reopening of the OML 25 flow station and commissioning of water plan in Kula community in Rivers.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project is a Joint venture project between the NNPC AND Belema oil.
He said country lost about 1.7 billion dollars to the closure of the OML 25 flow station for two years.
“There was shutdown of the Belema flow station due to absolute breakdown of law and order in this community two years ago, and there was loss of over 35,000 barrels of oil production per day per day.
“In monetary terms, that is worth about 1.7 billion dollars which could have been put to use for the benefit of the community and the rest of the federation.
“What we have done is to engage the community and its leadership, to ensure that dispute between it and Shell is brought to a closure, as a result of which there will be more community engagements.’’
“They have agreed to vacate the facility and allow petroleum operation to continue in this facility,” he said.
Kyari said that immediate priority of government and NNPC was to ensure peace to help other things to fall in place in the community.
“We know that ultimately when peace comes, oil production will come back and we can see the return of about 35,000 barrels of oil production per day.”
The GMD said that for the oil production to resume, there would be a re-entry process and validation of the state of damages done on the facility over time.
He assured that within the shortest time, Shell would come up with a plan.
According to him, community engagement is the solution to resolving dispute with oil producing communities.
“We have found a solution, and this would enable people to go back to their work, offer social service and all that is needed will come back.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, said the relationship with the community had come to stay.
“We need unity in Ijaw land today, and it is time for us to change strategy on our engagements to bring investment to our communities.
“If we cannot make our communities peaceful, investors will not come. It is our responsibility to bring peace to our communities for investment to come because investors are willing to come.”
Slyva advised communities and leaders in the Niger Delta to resolve issues affecting them and oil production.
He noted that through peaceful engagements, oil producing communities in the Niger Delta could earn more revenue from oil and gas investment opportunities.
According to him, there would be more developments as against the constant cases of hostility, disruption of oil production and underdevelopment. (NAN)