Akwa Ibom unveils new MoU template for IOCs
Akwa Ibom government has unveiled a draft template of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for multi-national oil companies and service concerns operating in the state.
Ekong Sampson, commissioner for environment and petroleum resources said the move was to look at gaps that had strained the relationship between the oil companies and service firms on one part and the host communities on the other.
He stressed that for good turnovers to be recorded, the oil companies and their service counterparts need a peaceful environment through a harmonious relationship with host communities and the state government while in their operations.
He noted that peace is key concern to the state government at all times, adding that “regular engagement of this kind, bringing stakeholders to a roundtable are critical avenue towards building and sustaining a very healthy relationship among major players in the industry.”
Sampson further explained that the state government seeks to achieve fair play for all parties, comprising government, oil companies, their service firms, and members of the host communities through a standardised MoU template, while expressing satisfaction with the oil companies’ facilities at their operational bases.
“As we live in a very tense moment in the life of our country, we need a standardised MoU which content should address all issues of equity for all,” Sampson said, frowning at IOCs and service companies for only having dealings with the host communities devoid of state government participation, saying “it’s totally unacceptable”.
He called on all oil service companies in Akwa Ibom to emulate the operational modalities of the multi-nationals in the state.
The commissioner, however, chided the operational activities of Total in the state, saying its flouting of fundamental standards regarding its relationship with state government and the host communities tantamount to “playing with the sensibility of the people.”
“As it is right now, the state government will not hesitate to go global in order to let the world know what they are doing to our people.”
The director of petroleum resources in the ministry, Emmanuel Inyang, hinted that with the standardised document, which he informed has a lifespan of three years, oil and gas firms will no longer unilaterally negotiate dealings with local chiefs of concerned communities, but that such negotiations would be carried out by the state government, and that paramount rulers, community chiefs, council chairmen, and the state commissioner that has the portfolio would henceforth be signatories to the MoU.
While calling on oil and gas concerns to submit list of service companies to the ministry to enable it obtain accurate data, Inyang called on the IOCs to comply with relevant laws of the state.
In their various contributions and comments, the representatives of the seven oil and gas institutions and service companies that were present at the meeting, after sounding their appreciation to the for the lofty initiative of a standardised MoU.
They corroborated on the opinion that the outcome of the meeting has bolstered the hope of stepping higher in their working relationship with the state ministry of environment and petroleum resources.