Business Hilights
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Exploration resumes as NNPC, SPDC, Belema settle Oil Mining Lease 25 dispute

Finally, peace has returned between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), joint venture partners, Shell Production Development Company (SPDC), and Belema Oil following the resolution of the dispute on the operation of Oil Mining Lease 25.

Signing the dispute closure agreement in Abuja parties agreed that operations at the oil well would take off from Tuesday next week.

The peace deal, brokered by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Silva, wills among other things; raise the daily cumulative output of Nigeria’s crude oil and gas.

The minister, who appreciated roles played by parties during the reconciliation, said the key aim of the ministry was to ensure an oil industry that worked and operated in harmony and unity.

According to him, “When I came into the office, the issue was one of the problems that came on the table; there were so many letters from communities complaining about the problem.

“I just decided to invite Shell to hear its own part of the story but fortunately, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had intervened in the matter.

“So, I have the honour now to thank him for this great intervention.

“I also thank Shell and Belema for cooperating to ensure that there is closure on this matter that had bedevilled the industry for so long.”

Sylva averred that amongst the aims of the petroleum industry was to ensure zero loss in the industry and that production got to its destination.

Analysts who had been following the crisis argued however that the biggest beneficiaries of the agreement were not the companies but the communities, especially those in Belema, whose host community largesse had been off the radar beginning from the onset of the dispute.

Some community officials of Belema who are in the know of the crisis and its final resolution thanked the minister and assured good community-firms relations going forward.

Business Hilights recalls that Belema Oil, an indigenous group owned by son of the soil had over the years been delivery several community development projects including building of infrastructure and award of scholarships to host communities and serial empowerment by way of sub-contracting and general employments.