The tussle between Belema oil and Shell Petroleum and Development Company is now history as they have finally resolved their differences.
In a town hall meeting held in Kula on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, Mr. Tein Jack-Rich (Jnr.) announced the peace and an end to the feud between Belema oil and Shell. According to Mr. Jack-Rich, the peace was a midwife by the management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum, His Excellency, Chief Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa State. The dispute on the operation of Oil Mining Lease (OML 25) has been on for about a period of two years, resulting in a cold war between the host community, Shell and Belema Oil producing company. The ending of the feud climaxed with the signing of the dispute closure agreement in Abuja, with full operations expected in ten days from the signing of the dispute closure agreement.
Kalabari Times gathered that during the signing of the dispute closure agreement, Timipre Sylva, the minister of state for petroleum, thanked all the parties, stressing that the signing is the beginning of a new chapter in the industry. According to him, the purpose was to ensure an oil industry that worked and operated in harmony and in unity. He thanked Shell and Belema oil for cooperating to ensure zero loss in the industry and that production gets to the destination.
In his words, “zero loss is not loss from pipelines but a loss to the country, especially with assets that can produce but for some reason, bugged down by leakage issues.” He maintained that the biggest beneficiary of the agreement remains the Belema Community.
Furthermore, the managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Engr. Kyari, said “The development was a huge achievement for the corporation. “The importance of the dispute resolution is that the community will have their peace restored and that at the back of it, you are aware that there is complete stoppage of petroleum operations around OML 25 and adjoining blocs.”
“What this means is shut down of production of over 35,000 barrels of crude oil every day in the last two years and that is an enormous economic loss for all stakeholders and we are happy to announce today that the closure has been obtained”.
“It means that the communities will have their peace back and also commence operations with the OML 25; that means that there is prosperity for the community and also some returns to shareholders of Belema Oil, NNPC and Nigeria at large”. Engr. Kyari commended Belema Oil for its role and assured full engagement of the communities, adding that all the parties would be taken care of”.
Shell, on its side, expressed gratitude for the closure. According to Osagie Okambor, Managing Director of Shell, “the dispute had been on for two years, but we are happy that we have concluded on resolving this dispute over OML 25.
“I want to convey my deep appreciation to the Group Managing Director of NNPC for his timely intervention to bring this issue to a closure. When dispute of this nature happens, everyone suffers, especially the immediate family, recipient community not to talk of investors like ourselves”.
“We have been in discussion with communities and Belema Oil and sometimes under the auspices of government. We are very pleased that we have finally brought this to a conclusion to work on some agreement with communities to achieve a speedy return to operations on that facility,”
The president and founder of Belema oil, while briefing the local media, said: “The first thing I want to do is to bring many opportunities to this area”. He said the president had approved a crude oil terminal for us, hence there is going to be massive job opportunities. “The other day, I came here and saw a boy, I instructed that the boy be sent abroad to work there for skill and today, he is there working. I have instructed that names be compiled for training because we are bringing in heavy-duty trucks and vessels for oil movement. Also, at about this time next year, we would have built our office complex, with numerous jobs running, pipe laying, coating, fitting and many more.” he said.
Mr. Jack-Rich emphasized that hallmark in life is love. “We must allow love to prevail within and among us. We must stop the hate, bickering and see how we can love and support ourselves. He further ensued for peace on the waterways. He emphasized that with this opportunity, “our territory will now be open to foreigners to frequent this area which will, in turn, open us up for massive development. We should pursue peace at all levels knowing that we have someone who thinks for us, for our future generation and how our territory should be in the next 100 years,” he said.
He said the feud was over as Shell and Belema oil has reconciled on the issues around OML 25. Mr. Jackrich specially thanked the Minister for State for petroleum, His Excellency, Chief Timipre Sylva and the Management of NNPC.
In his conclusion, he encouraged the media to spread the gospel of peace and further advised against social vices and acts that are inimical to society.