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  By Barbara Kalu (PORT HARCOURT) –

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria  (SPDC), has refuted claims by the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), that the oil company was in violation of Nigerian Content laws at the EA fields in Bayelsa.

Specifically, IYC had had alleged on April 10 that SPDC had excluded indigenous players from its operations at the EA fields in breach of the community content guidelines.

The content guidelines were set out by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The youth group also said that it would resist any plot to exclude members of the host community by mobilisng for a protest that would ground operations at the oil fields if the policy was not reversed.

IYC also urged the Minister of Petroleum, President Muhammadu Buhari and leadership of NNPC Limited to prevail on SPDC to have a rethink and reciprocate the peaceful disposition of the host communities.

SPDC operates the EA shallow offshore fields off Bayelsa coastline, deploying a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FSPO) vessel, with a capacity to process and hold 1.4 million barrels of crude.

But yesterday, while reacting to the allegations of breach of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD), SPDC said that on the contrary, it was a leading player in the development of local capacity in the oil and gas sector.

SPDC Media Relations Manager, Mrs Abimbola Essien-Nelson, in a statement, said that Shell awarded contracts worth $1.9 billion to Nigerian companies and works with NCDMB in building capacity of Nigerian companies in the oil and gas sector.

“The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited Joint Venture (SPDC JV) is committed to the development of businesses in the Niger Delta.

“Working with government and community stakeholders, we have supported capacity development in several Niger Delta-owned businesses.

“The case in hand is a scheduled review of our logistics contracting process that has been in place for years. The review was supervised by the NNPC Upstream Investments Management Services  (NUIMS) and the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

“It was, however, conducted via an open and transparent bidding process which resulted in the entrance of several new contractors.

“The bid winners consist some of these new companies, as well as companies previously involved in the contract.

“All the bid winners, which are Nigerian companies, demonstrated their commercial and technical competences, as well as compliance with Nigerian Content regulations,” SPDC stated.

The energy firm pledged that it would continue to support the development of local communities and companies.

It stated that in 2022, the SPDC Joint Venture, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) and Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG) awarded contracts worth $1.9 billion to Nigerian-registered companies.

“Additionally, in 2022, the SPDC JV, SNEPCo and SNG invested $5.6 million in education programmes and contributed $34.29 million in direct social investment.

“Social investment was mainly in projects related to community, health, education, road safety and enterprise programmes.

“These projects are often implemented in partnership with local authorities and contractors.

“In addition, $56.13 million has been earmarked to be paid in 2023 by the SPDC JV and SNEPCo for a statutory contribution to Host Communities Development Trusts (HCDTs), which will benefit Nigerian communities,” it stated. (With a report by NAN)

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