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Shell raises alarm over militant camps in Bayelsa


Written by EMMA AMAIZE   
Monday, 16 March 2009
WARRI—SHELL Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) weekend, expressed concern over the existence of militant camps around its Floating Production Storage Off-Loading vessel (FPSO) , otherwise known as the Sea Eagle ( E.A)  Oil Field in Bayelsa State as well as  threats being sent to its officials via electronic mail and  GSM phone by unknown persons.Manager of the E.A Field, Mr. Bolade Bode raised the alarm when the company met with royal fathers, opinion leaders and representative of the 12 E.A communities, namely Amatu I, Amatu II, Bilababiri I, Bilabiri II, Bisangbene, Letugbene, Agge, Ogbeintu, Orobiri, Azamabiri, Ekeni and Ezetu, all in Bayelsa State to update them on the company’s plan to resume oil exploration activities, which was suspended in the area, three years ago.

SPDC, which is operating the offshore oil field on behalf of the NNPC, Shell, Total, Agip Joint Venture also lamented that oil bunkers have been tampering with the oil heads and stealing crude oil from the E.A Field for some time now.

The issue of oil bunkering in the E.A Field drew the wrath of the communities, as they berated the company and the security agencies for allowing bunkers to carry out their nefarious activities in an area that is clearly a restricted zone.

The Amananowei of Amatu I, His Royal Highness (HRH) Deka Kerede, opinion leader from Agge, Mr. Stanley Braboke and Mr. Gereghewei Goodnews from Bisangbene were specific that the security agencies should beef up their security if it was porous and not provoke the oil communities with an allegation they know nothing about.

Mr. Bode and other officials of the company, including the manager, social performance, Mr. Emeka Obi, Mr. Tiemo Alphenso, Mr. Augustus Oji  and others briefed the communities on the prevailing,  Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU), legacy projects in the areas and their status.

Mr. Braboke admitted the existence of the legacy projects and called for the quick completion of the on-going ones.  However, the communities insisted on the company declaring to the communities the employment opportunities and contracts that would be available in the new phase of the re-entry and maintenance in the field.

HRH Kerede assured the company on behalf of the 12 communities that they would guarantee them peace during maintenance operation, but, said it was dependent on how the company carried the people along in the aspect of providing employment and contracts for them.

The communities also told the company that youths from the communities would not disturb the operations of the company as long as they are given opportunities to earn a living, saying the greatest security the SPDC would have for its operations in the E.A oil field is not navy personnel, but, community youths employed by it to work in the platform.

They said that militants would not attack a company that is known to be providing a source of livelihood for their fellow Niger-Deltans and even when they come, the youths working in the platform would be able to dissuade them because they are all brothers.

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