Operators in the Nigerian oil industry seem to have given up on the Niger Delta as the General Manager, External Relations, Shell Mr Igo Weli said investors had set their sights on other parts of the country. According to him, though Nigeria as a whole is challenging, other parts of the country like Lagos were more progressive
“Investors are going to Lagos because of the choices the state government makes and the way they organise themselves and the confidence that it gives to investors, which is the reverse in the Niger Delta”
Reasons behind Shell’s position Even though Shell is one of the earliest operators in the Nigerian oil industry, the Niger Delta has become an increasingly difficult place to do business. Militant attacks often result to breaks in production and damage to oil facilities. The Forcados pipeline which is Nigeria’s main export hub has been attacked repeatedly. This increases the cost of doing business. Kidnapping which is a common occurrence makes oil staff reluctant to work in the area, and so armed personnel are required for security. The advent of shale oil, means cost of oil production is dropping daily, so companies producing at a high price, will find it difficult to sell their crude.
Government has stepped in As companies exit the area, there will be fewer job opportunities. This increases restiveness in the area and causes a domino effect as other companies leave when the insecurity becomes worse. The Federal Government has however stepped in by repeatedly having meetings with elders from the region, and funding an amnesty programme.
Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo has also visited several states in the region to dialogue with members of the community. The Niger Delta comprises the oil producing areas in the South South region of Nigeria namely: Akwa Ibom, Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers state.