Energy

CSR: Bayelsa assemblyman accuses oil firm of neglecting community

The representative of Ekeremor Constituency 2 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Wilson Ayakpo Dauyegha, has tackled alleged negligence of his community by the Bayelsa Oil Company Limited (BOCL).

The representative of Ekeremor Constituency 2 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Wilson Ayakpo Dauyegha, has tackled alleged negligence of his community by the Bayelsa Oil Company Limited (BOCL), of not carrying out its statutory Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).

Dauyegha, in a statement, yesterday, added that despite the goodwill enjoyed by BOCL, it abysmally failed to reciprocate the gesture.

The Deputy Minority Leader, however, hailed the Federal Government for awarding the Atala Oil Field to an indigenous oil exploration company, adding that any other decision would have been perceived as utter neglect towards the interest of the host communities.

He called on members of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), to remain neutral in matters of such, as it negatively affects its reputation and motive as a pressure group for development.

He said: “As the Member Representing the good people of the above mention Constituency in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, It is a responsibility to properly analyse as well as consult, educate and enlighten my people on matters pertinent to sustainable development, advise where necessary and make our collective position known at all times.

“As such, the existence and the productivity of the Atala Oil Field in relation to the expected and considerable developmental growth of the Constituency has been one of keen interest and of utmost concern.

“This has made it necessary for us to take a position and make it known at a time like this. Firstly, it is important to state that the ATALA OIL Field was discovered in 1982, and was first awarded exploration licence to the Bayelsa Oil Company Limited BOCL in 2003. Of which, the BOCL had exclusive exploration rights.

“This news was greeted with huge cheers, sighs of relief, and celebrations by the host communities, as we expected unprecedented growth and developments as a result of being host communities, and the dividends that accrue as a result of Corporate Social Responsibilities and otherwise.

“Distastefully, this has not been the case, as the BOCL not only failed to harness the potentials of the Atala Oil Field and further meet up the expectations of the Federal Government who issued the Licence. In year 2010, graciously granted by the Federal Government, was an extension of its license for 5 extra years for its Farm-Out Agreement for the purpose of bringing it to production.

“At the expiration of this extension in 2015, again another gracious offer was made by the Minister of Petroleum Resources to the BOCL to renew its license within 18 months effective from 1st May 2016, which again expired on December 2017.

“For 17 years, the good people of Ekeremor constituency 2 and other Host Communities, without agitations, waited patiently with diminishing expectations over these wasted years.

“Not only did we frown at the recklessness of its handling over the years by the BOCL, we also anticipated a response from the Federal Government who set benchmarks and regulate the activities within the upstream sector where Atala Oil Field is residual.

“Most recently, in 2021 the Federal Government through the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources awarded the Atala Oil Field otherwise known as OML 46 to an indigenous Oil Exploration Company.

“Again this was met with huge sighs of relief and belief that the fading hopes of the Host communities will be renewed and achieved, as failure to do the needful by the Federal Government at such critical time would be perceived as recklessness and neglect on the part of the Federal Government, who are saddled with the responsibility of licencing partners to handle such matters of gigantic interests.

“Secondly, it is worthy to note that throughout these unproductive years the good people of Ekeremor Constituency 2 and other host communities waited, there was relative patience, calmness and peace, as we did not protest against the BOCL for its failure to bring the expected dividends to us as host communities.

“This failure has dwindled the hopes of our people. We expected accelerated employment opportunities, scholarships, human capacity development, infrastructural and community development, to mention but a few.

“In angst, one can only imagine what would have become of the host communities if the Atala Oil field was productive and the ricochet effect on neighbouring communities.

“On the other hand, it is the earnest desire of the host communities that the field becomes productive and the experiences of the past never repeat itself.

“Rather, that these unproductive years be repaid with immediate engagements and productiveness to say the least. As the wasted years depict, this irresponsible breach of contract shows of lack of capacity by the BOCL, which left the Federal Government with no choice but to revoke the OML 46 in 2019.

“In 2021, through the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Federal Government freshly awarded the revoked OML 46 to another indigenous Oil Exploration Company.

“Thirdly, our attention has been drawn to a recent press briefing by the Bayelsa State government, where its position urged the federal government to cancel the award to the Indigenous Exploration Oil Company and rather return the Atala Oil Field to the BOCL.

“Also disturbing is the decision of the Ijaw Youth Council to back the Baylesa State government on the cancelation of the newly issued license, which the good people of Ekeremor Constituency 2 see as a glimmer of hope in achieving the long standing and under tapped potentials of the Atala Oil field (OML 46).

“Fourthly, as a peace loving people and progressive people who have the very interest of sustainable development of our communities, we wish to make public our position which are stated as follows;

“That since the discovery of the Atala Oil Field, the Good people of Ekeremor constituency 2 and other Host Communities have been short-changed, yet hopeful of better things to come.

“That hitherto, the unproductiveness of the Atala Oil field since its discovery in 1982 and its subsequent award of exploration license in 2003 has been a thing of dwindling hope as it has been decades of hopeful waiting.

“Owing to the fact that the BOCL failed to deliver on her responsibilities and as such we have lost trust in her.That the Patience of the good people of Ekeremor constituency 2 is running out as time wasted is resultant to wasted opportunities and further deprivation for us.

“That the recent calls for cancellation of the license to a new oil exploration company by the Bayelsa State Government and the IYC is not only insensitive, unnecessary, irresponsible and will only incite unrest amongst the host communities whom have been patient for so long.

“As this will ultimately lead to further delay and more unproductive years which will ultimately succeed in further short-changing us of the long anticipated dividends.

“That the Bayelsa State Government should as a matter of urgency congratulate the newly licensed exploration company and avail them the enabling environment to thrive.

“As her current position is also misleading. That the IYC should remain apolitical in matters of such, as it negatively affects its reputation and motive as a pressure group for development.

“Rather it depicts the youth body as a tool of government, as all through the years of its unproductiveness, the youth body never thought it necessary to urge the previous owners to do the needful as the host communities were at the losing end of it.

“Lastly, in line with our position as stated above, we thank the Federal Government for doing the needful by awarding the Atala Oil Field to an indigenous oil Exploration Company as any other decision would have been perceived as utter neglect towards the interest of the host communities.

“We also use this medium to congratulate the new owners of the OML 46 and urge them to, as a matter of urgency start operation, carry along the host communities as expected, and bring the long awaited dividends to the host communities, for it is long overdue.”

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