Aggrieved host community members in their numbers, stormed a crude oil flow station belonging to Shell in the restive Niger Delta on Friday, demanding jobs and infrastructure development for the people.
But in a terse response, SPDC said its commitment to the welfare of host communities in the Niger Delta remained unshaken; it noted that the Rivers State Government initiated a mediation process for the resolution of the disagreements in the community which had resulted in the creation of the Kula Project Implementation and Monitoring Committee in 2012.
Complains of the protesters include not benefiting from oil production in their area, but sustained impoverishment of their swampland that produces most of Nigeria’s oil.
In their submission made without any security disruption manned by a detachment of the Nigerian Army, they also demanded an end to oil pollution in the area before resumption of talks. At the end of the peaceful protest, there was no report on any negative impact on oil production.
Otherwise, soldiers and allied security guards did not disperse the crowd as they entered the Belema Flow Station in Rivers State, which feeds oil into Shell’s Bonny export terminal.
But in a swift reaction, the SPDC-operated Joint Venture, in a statement, decried the attempted “illegal occupation” of the facilities by some persons, saying it had informed the authorities of the development and was working towards resuming safe operations.
Shell was quick to deny allegations of neglect of communities in Kula Kingdom and Belema in Rivers State, saying it had implemented a Global Memorandum of Understanding in the area that led to a wide variety of social investment projects including university scholarship awards.
SPDC noted further that the PIMC served as an interim platform for the delivery of social investment initiatives and programmes worth N263m in the Soku-San Berth Project.
Shell averred that “These projects are separate from the GMoU projects initiated by communities using funds provided by the SPDC JV”.
It recalled that a GMoU was eventually signed in 2014 for the Kula Cluster but had not been implemented because of continuing intra-community disagreements.
Business Hilights recalls that due to the fact that Bonny Light crude oil is currently under force majeure because of the closure of the Trans Niger Pipeline, exports continue via another export line.