Indigenous oil exploration and production company, Conoil Producing Limited, has had a crude oil production flow station at Ango field in Koluama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State shut down by the host community.
This follows the protest by aggrieved members of the community over the oil firm’s insensitivity to its social obligations towards the people.
According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the protesting members of the community had besieged the facility and told the oil workers to shut the facility and leave the site of the 30,000 barrels per day capacity flow station.
The oil workers at the onshore facility connecting oil wells within the swamps and creeks at Koluama were escorted out of the area by speedboats by armed security men.
What a community leader in Koluama is saying
A community leader in Koluama 1, Chief Young Fabby, on Tuesday, said that the facility was shut to protest the oil firm’s insensitivity to its social obligations to the people.
He said the aggrieved community shut operations at the flow station on Monday and sacked oil workers deployed to run the oil facility following Conoil’s failure to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which expired in 2020.
Chief Fabby said, “The Koluama clan was compelled to take the action following the refusal of the oil company to dialogue on several outstanding issues amongst which is the MoU which expired for more than one year.
“All entreaties through established channels have been rebuffed. Secretary of Koluama kingdom Oil/Gas Committee, Jonathan Amabebe, had drawn attention to the refusal of Conoil and this is regrettable,” he said.
Although officials of Conoil have yet to react to the incident, the Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the state, Mrs Christiana Abiakam-Omanu, confirmed the development.
She said that members of Conoil’s host communities were at the oilfield to protest, but that only the operator of the field (Conoil) could confirm if it was shut or not.
What you should know
- Conflicts between the oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta region of the country and the oil-producing firms have become quite regular and is a huge challenge to uninterrupted oil production in that area.
- The complaints by the host communities against these oil firms include environmental degradation, incessant oil spillages, neglect of their corporate social responsibilities and so on.
- This has often led to disruption/ stoppage of operations, closure of flow stations and rigs, vandalism/destruction of facilities, molestation/abduction of oil company staffs, temporary seizure of oil company assets like vehicles and boats and so on.