The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has restated commitment to support the federal government’s efforts to preserve the heritage of Oloibiri in Bayelsa where the oil firm first struck oil in commercial quantity in 1958.
Mr Osajie Okunbor, Managing Director (SPDC), made the pledge at the historic site of Oloibiri Oil Well No.1 during the groundbreaking ceremony for Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre (OMRC) in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
The Oloibiri oil fields currently falls under Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, now operated by indigenous oil firm, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production, following SPDC’s divestment from the asset in 2015.
Aiteo acquired SPDC’s interest in OML 29, which includes the 97 kilometre Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) for 2.4 billion dollars.
Speaking at the event, Okunbor said, “I am delighted at the opportunity to present this goodwill message on behalf of SPDC.
“SPDC is the operator of the Joint Venture involving the NNPC Limited, Shell, Total Energies E&P Limited and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company limited (NAOC).
“This is history in the making and the SPDC Joint Venture is proud to be associated with it. Indeed, the energy story of Nigeria has come home! It was here in 1958 that Shell opened the first pages of the history of energy in Nigeria.
“The first commercial find of hydrocarbons was here in Oloibiri and the subsequent first export of oil which launched Nigeria into the league of oil producers was also from here,” he said.
He said that more than six decades later, the social investments of Shell in Oloibiri, both as a sole sponsor and in collaboration with its joint venture partners has been a testament to the importance of the historic event that occurred in Oloibiri.
The Shell Group, in recognition of the pivotal place of Oloibiri in Nigeria, he said, commissioned, in 2019 and later in 2022 one of the biggest Shell health interventions programmes in Nigeria.
”This intervention involved the commissioning of a fully remodeled and equipped general hospital at Kolo, fully equipped laboratories in the College of Health Technology, Otuogidi, solar-powered water treatment facilities for the communities, the Oloibiri Health Campus at Oloibiri town, and the Ogbia Safe Maternal and Infant Care Programme, among other health interventions within Oloibiri and its environs,” Okunbor said.
The SPDC lauded the effort of the Federal Executive Council in the step-by-step approach that has culminated in the approval for construction and the contract award to develop the Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre.
Okunbor observed that the groundbreaking ceremony reflects the collaborative effort and tenacity of the PTDF, NCDMB, SPDC JV and the Bayelsa State Government.
“I, therefore, congratulate us all again on this seminal and highly important event. There is no doubt in my mind that, when concluded, this museum and research centre will be a one-stop shop in the heart of the Niger Delta for the development of technologies for the energy of today and the energy of tomorrow.
“I expect that the centre will grow to collaborate with relevant academic institutions in the Niger Delta and beyond, to further the much-needed handshake between the energy industry in Nigeria and academia,” he said.
He urged the community to see the Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre as their own and not another project implemented by the government and multinationals.
“I expect the people to own, protect and take pride in the historical and future relevance of this facility, while also taking advantage of the many opportunities it will offer.
“I join all stakeholders to celebrate this monumental event and wish for a safe, speedy construction here after. Thank you everyone,” he said.
The groundbreaking was performed by Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that dignitaries who witnessed the occasion includes Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board , Mr Simbi Wabite and community representatives.
NAN reports the FEC on Feb. 8 approved the award of contract for the project to Julius Berger Nigeria PLC for N17 billion. (NAN)