Rivers oil, gas landlords shut down NAOC’s operations

Chukwudi Akasike,
Port Harcourt

THE Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Oil and Gas Families’ Association in Rivers State has shut down operations of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company for the firm’s alleged inability to address problems affecting its host communities.

The landlords specifically said that NAOC had refused to address issues bordering on security, corporate social responsibility and the safety of the environment.

A statement signed by the Chairman of the association, Mr. Chikobi Alali, Chairman, ONELGA Oil and Gas Landlords Families and a member, Capt. C.D. Roberts (rtd.), called on NAOC to pay all the landlords’ contractors bills and one percent of the total amount from contracts awarded to and executed by them.

The landlords demanded as solution to the disagreement, an out-of-court settlement of cases between the oil and gas landlords’ families and NAOC, and compensation for the Ebocha blowout to Egbema communities, among other palliatives.

According to the statement, “The ONELGA Oil and Gas Families Association is the ancient owners of OML 60 and 61 on which stand the 150 oil well heads, which NAOC operates in the local government area like the Ebocha oil center, OB/OB Gas injection plant, electrical generating turbines, pipelines, flow lines and other installations.

“The latest showdown was triggered off by NAOC inability to honour the understanding it reached with the association to pay all pending bills as palliative to create harmony in addressing serious problems affecting the communities such as security, corporate social responsibility CSR, and matters relating to the environment.

“The palliatives are immediate payment of all landlords’ contractors bills, payment of one per cent total amount accrued from deduction made in contracts awarded to and executed by landlord families’ contractor to the association account.

“Others are out of court resolution of all pending court cases between the oil and gas landlords’ families and NAOC, including judgment of court in Suit No: FHC/PH/CS/1352/2004, compensation of the Ebocha blowout for Egbema communities, and payment of approved legal land rates by government.”

The association recalled that it received telephone short messages from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources emanating from NAOC, claiming that it (NAOC) had made payments to the landlords’ contractors.

“The landlords waited for one week without receiving payment alert from the banks. This prompted the Minister of Petroleum to send a fact finding team to NAOC office in Port Harcourt and the result, according to Mr. Charles Achodo, Special Adviser to the Minister of Petroleum Resources on Niger Delta, that the money for the payment has been approved, but does not know who it was paid to.

“It will be recalled that the ONELGA oil and gas landlord families’ contractors have not been paid for their services for over one year now,” the statement from the association read.

They (landlords) listed those reached for an amicable resolution of the issues in the past as the Chairman of ENI Group, Ms. Emma Marcegala; Managing Director of ENI Group, Claudio Descalzo; Vice President of ENI Group, Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Umberto Carrara; and Managing Director NAOC/NNPC Joint Venture, Mr. Massimo Insulla.

Others, according to the oil and gas landlords, are the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Minister of Defence, Minister of Interior, Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector-General of Police.

They pointed out that for over a year, it had always been promises from the oil firm, even as they appealed to government to come and protect their interest.

“We are calling on the government to come to our aid as a regulatory authority to protect the interest of the landlords as it has become evident that international oil companies (IOC) do not and has no intention of protecting the interest of the landlords,” they said.

However, official of the NAOC, who preferred not to be mentioned, said the oil company would not comment on the matter immediately.

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Contact: editor@punchng.com

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