• Thursday, June 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Resumption of oil production: Belema Oil Producing replaces Shell in Ogoni

Nigeria’s oil output hits 13-month high of 1.3mbpd

Strong indications have emerged that full oil production activities will soon resume in Ogoni land after over 22 years, following the mass protests by the people and civil disturbances in the area occasioned by alleged neglect and injustice on the people by the Nigerian government and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), operator of the oil fields.

BusinessDay reliably gathers in Port Harcourt that the latest development is a product of a unanimous decision and endorsement of an indigenous oil producing company, Belema Oil Producing Limited, by the Ogoni major oil producing communities, stakeholders, representatives of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), the apex socio-cultural organisation in Ogoni land, and religious leaders from the area.

The choice of a new operator of the six Ogoni oil-fields – Bomu, Korokoro, Bodo West, Yorla, Ebubu, and Tai – came after a marathon meeting on Monday, February 2, 2015, converged at the Palace of the chairman of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers and chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, G. N. K. Gininwa, in Korokoro, Tai Local Government Area.

In attendance were the oil bearing communities, represented by their respective paramount rulers, community development committees, chiefs and elders and other traditional leaders, youths and women leaders, as well as the MOSOP leadership led by its current secretary-general, Nenniibarini Dube.

Read also: Council of State insists polls must go on as scheduled

The meeting first of all appraised the issue of the divestment of OML II by SPDC.

Different speakers lamented the “reckless operations of the former operator of the fields, SPDC, and the untold hardship, woes and anguish the people experienced, not to talk of the huge and irredeemable devastated environment, a once attractive land with resourceful forests and flora.”

Leading on the issues at the forum were Gilbert Wanene, the former Rivers State commissioner for special duties, (Emere) Godwin Bebe-Okpabi, who also represented all oil bearing communities in Eleme Kingdom, the paramount ruler of Kegbara-Dege Community, King Donald K. Gberesuu, and the MOSOP secretary-general, Nenniibarini Dube, among others.

While decrying the “pathetic level of poverty and degradation of farmlands in the Ogoni communities,” Donald Gberesuu, who also spoke on behalf of other paramount rulers, observed that “resumption of oil production in Ogoni land will help to assuage the plight of the people, and further speed the rate of development in the area.”

Gberesuu noted that “the new company will usher in a new lease of life into Ogoni,” and therefore, appealed to the people to embrace the well-thought out initiative of the leaders.

He said Kegbara-Dere, as the highest oil producing community in Ogoni land, and which also leads in the Bomu Oil Field, as was tagged by the former operator, SPDC, unreservedly support the current arrangement, and will “always cooperate with any process that will bring about justice, even development and peace in the area.”