Petralon 54 seeks host community support for oil field PPL 259 development
Indigenous oil and gas communities operating in the Niger Delta have often found it easier to engage their host communities because they reckon that a social licence to operate is just as important as a government license.
This informs the decision of Petralon 54 Limited, an indigenous oil exploration, and production company, which was recently granted the sole operatorship of the Dawes Island Field, as its first action, to take the license to the host communities for the official presentation to their leaders.
Petralon 54, which was awarded Petroleum Prospecting License No. 259 (PPL 259) by the Federal Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, has been actively engaging the community since the award, with the motive of discovering the needs and pain points of the community. These engagements culminated in a visit to the communities on Thursday, 13th October 2022.
On the day, the ancient Ogoloma Kingdom wore a festive mood. Several dignitaries including the traditional high chiefs from three kingdoms in Okrika local government area of Rivers -Ogoloma, Okochiri, and Koniju communities were present as well Adeola Akinrinmade, executive director, Petralon 54 Limited and Ahonsi Unuigbe, Founder, Petralon 54 Limited.
Others are Emmanuel Tamunoigbeindebia Ibiagolika, Amayanabo of Ancient Ogoloma Kingdom, Michael Ateke Tom, Amayanabo of Okochiri Kingdom including lawmakers and representatives from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).
Dawas Island Community Launch
The event tagged ‘Dawes Island Community Launch’ held at the Ogoloma Town Square had the rich culture of the Okrika people on display and attracted dignitaries from the three communities, including the youths, community elders, members of the Council of Chiefs, top government functionaries and the paramount traditional rulers.
Leading the Petralon 54 team, which included Adeola Akinrinmade, Executive Director and Gboyega Aiyemomi, Community & Government Relations Manager, was Ahonsi Unuigbe, Founder Petralon 54 Limited. He formally presented the company’s Petroleum Prospecting License No. 259 (PPL 259) to the Royal Fathers and the people and conveyed appreciation for the warm reception accorded him and other members of the company’s management team there present.
Unuigbe, while presenting the PPL license, told the communities that “Petralon 54 is a socially responsible organisation that is committed to human and environmental wellbeing and urged the Okrika people to see the company as a partner in progress”.
“We are not just here to take without giving back. With the right atmosphere created by the Okrika people for our company’s operations, mutual prosperity is assured”, he promised.
Speaking differently, but with one voice, the spokespersons for both Ogoloma and Okochiri communities, Linda Koroma and Chris Biriowu, warmly welcomed Petralon 54 and expressed the communities’ happiness at the company’s effort at connecting deeply with the people.
“We are peace-loving people but we do not want to be taken for granted. In getting wealth out of our land, our people’s means of livelihood are destroyed. We, therefore, expect that we should be a part of the prosperity for which we sacrifice our livelihoods, ecosystem, and land”, said Hon. Linda Koroma.
She added, however, that “with the way you – Petralon 54 have come to us, we are persuaded that you are keen on a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship with our people, and for that, you have our full support and cooperation”.
Earlier in his remarks for the Okochiri Kingdom, Chris Biriowu commented that our communities have a very high percentage of youths, who will require employment and empowerment. We ask you, as one of us, to make this one of your own problems, too”.
For an asset coming on board now that there is a funding issue in the industry, Adeola Akinrinmade, executive director, Petralon 54 Limited, unveiled how the company is trying to solve this.
“I say money is fluid and it is always looking for somewhere to rest. So, the question is, are you in the right position to attract funds to invest in your asset?
“We did not just jump into it. We took time to engage with partners. They are an internationally known company for geoscientific research. We gave them the letter and they accepted it intensely and vigorously. And they came out with the plan which we are going to utilize to attract investment. And the plan says during the course of the years, two years to three years. And it shows that the field is indeed viable enough to attract investment internationally, and viable to attract investment locally. I would say there won’t be a problem attracting investment because this asset is viable” he said.
Model; Going To Host Community Without Heavy Security
“Yes, I said I will become a model of the relationship within the community and companies. You can see the support, already. We are with the newsmen, we are not here with security. We are not scared. my mother is from this state. I am also an indigene of this environment. So, for us, it is a homecoming” enthused Ahonsi.
Petralon 54 Ltd is an indigenous exploration and production oil and gas company. The company holds a 100% interest in PPL 259, which covers the Dawes Island Field, and is a subsidiary of Petralon Energy Limited, whose mission is to leverage its experience, expertise, and world-class delivery capability to grow true indigenous ownership within the sector while redefining the relationship between oil companies and communities.
As a company, Petralon 54 Limited says it is excited at the opportunities this development will present to every stakeholder in this ecosystem and has commenced significant investment in the asset, which has suffered neglect for more than eighteen years.
Going by its strategic plan to take the Dawes Island field to sustained commercial production before the end of the year 2022, Petralon 54started well test operations in September 2022, an initiative which will result in sufficient data gathering that will enable seamless operation and contribution to national output.
At Ogoloma square, some of those in the community who spoke to the media said beyond the pomp and pageantry, they hope the company will fulfill its pledges.
“We await them to fulfill the promises on jobs and training opportunities. We have heard some lines from others, but what we have not seen others do is what they have done today by presenting their license to us,” said 37-year-old Tamunotonye Adagogo.
Sounding optimistic, he said he loved the approach of the company and the dignified way it has treated them. “We see the future with these people (Petralon 54). Let them just keep doing the right thing,” he said.