Published On: Mon, Feb 4th, 2013

Tension in Isoko Community over Shell Ceding of Oil Facilities to NNPC

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THE plan by Shell Petroleum Development Company to cede its oil and gas facilities in Isokoland, OML 30, Delta State, to a new firm, Shoreline Company Limited, is creating immense tension in Isoko as the people have vowed not to cooperate with the new firm if a detailed and formidable agreement is not reached.
It was learnt that the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a Nigerian-owned firm, would be the operator of the new deal.
Officials of the NPDC and Shell met with hundreds of stakeholders from Isoko at the weekend in Effurun to explain why Shell was transferring its equity share in the joint venture to NPDC.
Mr. Akpomudjere Edesiri, a senior official with Shell, explained that Shell’s decision to sell facilities in OML 30 was a strategic move to streamline the operations of the firm with what obtains elsewhere in the world since Shell operates in over 170 countries.
He said just as Shell was closing down facilities in one location or country, it was opening new frontiers in others. For instance, Edesiri said, Shell closed down its operations in Cameroun and has opened new frontiers in East Africa and urged the Isoko people to cooperate with the new firms.
But the Isoko people, who spoke through Dennis Egwe Etaluku, said they were insulted by the fact that Shell and NPDC did not come to Isoko where the oil facilities are to discuss with them.
“The first foot you put forward has a fault; you did not deem it fit to go to Isoko to meet the people but you invited us to Effurun to meet with us. This is the way Isoko people are treated. You dragged me from my community; now you want to buy my cooperation after disrespecting me,” he said.
He expressed anger over Shell’s inertia when Isoko wrote the firm that they were willing to buy Shell’s interest instead of ceding it to another firm.
Etaluku said there must be a firm agreement signed between the Isoko people and the new firms before they would be allowed to move to site, adding that no non-Isoko person would be allowed to work in the facilities.
On his part, Coordinator of the Isoko Survival Synergy, Mr. Okiroro Iki-Ebieroma, alerted that the new firm has started work in the site and is only buying time and “fooling the Isoko people by inviting them to Effurun for talks.”

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