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ThisDayOnline: Shell Returns to Niger Delta

From Kingsley Nwezeh in Asaba, 07.03.2007

Dutch Oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, yesterday announced the resumption of full scale oil exploration and production in Niger Delta region  after the multi-national firm left area following spate of hostage taking of its staff and youth restiveness that disrupted operations in the region.

The company lamented the spate of illegal oil bunkering which still threatens its return at its operational base the  cost the management put at  tens of millions of dollars since early part of 2006 when the firm deserted Delta state.

General Manger, West, Mr. Cor Zegelaar stated this yesterday when he led a six man management delegation on a courtesy  visit to Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan at the Government House  Asaba, the state capital.

Mr. Zeggllar said the company had no intention of pulling out from the state and other volatile areas of the Niger Delta region where it has  operations , but decried  the colossal damages that had been done to its facilities through illegal oil bunkering by pipeline vandals.

He disclosed  that about five hundred flow lines were destroyed and vandalized   since it stopped production temporarily, pointing out that the firm  was still re-examining the cost of damages with a view to restoring them for full operation.

“One of the areas that concerns us is the illegal bunkering that is still taking place in a number of areas and it is creating significant environmental damage and it is also  creating irreversible damage to our reservoirs” he lamented. 

Zeggllar told his host about the on-going process by the company to re-enter the region and do business in the area where it has established small production, but that unabated illegal bunkerings in the area was unhealthy for the company.

According to him’’ Shell has no intention to leave Niger Delta. We are now in the process of re-entering again in the area where we have already established small production. One of the areas that concerned us is the illegal bunkerings that is still taking place in anumber  of areas and it is creating significant environmental damages and irreversible damages to our reserviour and last I will like to mention the significant amount of theft of our products during our absence and the sequence of our re-entry will be re-entry will be re-examined through economic analysis, especially those areas that are least affected that need least amount of significant assessment that have top prirority’’.

He, however, expressed gratitude to the state government’s efforts at ensuring the return of the company to the state and the Niger Delta region.

He sought the unalloyed support of all the stakeholders and communities in the state , adding that ‘’we as a company are totally committed to restore productions to the previous level as soon as possible’’.

The SDPC boss stressed that Shell as a socially responsible multinational company would continue to play its role significantly to the betterment of its host communities.

The firm he specifically stated had at the moment  distributed over 20 generators to various communities and provide micro-credit facilities to its people to assist improve their lot.

In his response governor  Uduaghan, pledged government preparedness to provide a conducive environment to businesses to thrive in the state, underlining that peace and security were top on its agenda.

He said he is committed to moving the state away from being  a haven for negative vices to that of positive action and development.

The governor also spoke of plans to draw a befitting master development plan for the state, adding that all roads initiated by the immediate past government would be completed in no time.

He called for private sector participation as government alone cannot go the whole hog.

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=82606

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