Feb 04, 2009

Ogoni: Shell to Remain ‘Silent Partner’

Active ImageAfter a series of negotiations with the Federal Government, the oil giant Shell will continue to play a role, albeit a less direct one, in the region’s oil extraction.  They promise to involve the local population in the production.


 Below is an article published by: The Punch

Oil major, Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, will continue operating in Ogoniland in Rivers State as a “silent” partner to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, investigations by our correspondent have revealed.
Already, the Federal Government has reached an agreement with the multinational oil company on this new arrangement.

Details of the arrangement are still being worked out.

A highly placed Federal Government source, who did not want to be named, told our correspondent that the percentage of shares of investments and profits due to the partners involved in the new arrangement was part of the details that were being worked out.

According to the source, the new deal in oil exploration activities in Ogoniland involves the allocation of shares to individual members of the host community.

The Federal Government, alongside other stakeholders, are hoping that the allocation of shares from the oil prospecting activities in the community will ensure that the Ogoni people have a sense of belonging in the new arrangement.

That, in turn, will ensure a conducive environment for their operations, the partners hope.

“Shell will remain in Ogoniland,” the source said in response to enquiries from our correspondent concerning the fate of the oil company in the community.

Continuing, the source added, “They (Shell) will operate as silent partners to the NNPC, which will assume major roles in Ogoniland.

“There was a plan to replace Shell in the community due to a breakdown in its relationship with the Ogoni people, but we have been talking and now we are working on a new arrangement whereby individual members of the host community will have shares in the oil exploration activities in their locality.

“We hope that this will curb the problems of militancy and ensure the right environment to maximise production capacity in the community.”

“The Federal Government has been losing huge sums due to the problems we have had there and even in other parts of the Niger Delta, so we are looking at ways to save the situation, and we have to carry the communities along.

“We are at the drawing board; details are still being worked out.”

The source explained that Shell welcomed the new arrangement, which would see the company remain in Ogoniland after the Federal Government announced plans to sack it from the troubled host community.