Relocate To Your Operational Base – Senate Tells IOCs
International oil companies exploring oil in Akwa Ibom have been directed by Nigeria’s Senate to relocate their corporate headquarters to the state in line with laid down rules and regulations.
The chairman, Senate Committee, Upstream Petroleum, Senator Bassey Akpan, who is also the senator representing Uyo Senatorial District, made known the position of the Senate on oil exploration matters when he led members of his committee to Government House, Uyo, on oversight functions in Akwa Ibom.
Akpan, accompanied by the managing director, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Engr. Marshal Sambo, directed the managing director of Sterling Global Oil, Dr Tony Chukwueke, to ensure the relocation of their corporate headquarters to Akwa Ibom where they are doing oil explorations in Iko community.
He emphasized the need for the management of Sterling Global Oil exploring oil in the state to carry out Environmental Impact Assessment (E.I A) for the purpose of ensuring the safety of lives and protection of the host communities.
Akpan explained that their oversight functions over upstream petroleum in Nigeria was for the senators to protect the interest of the host oil producing communities, the state and the Federal Government for the best to be achieved in the country.
He advised the oil explorations company to ensure that whatever services they embarked upon in their host community falls in line with the laid down rules and regulations governing the operations of International Oil Companies (I.O.C ) in the country.
His words : “We have the duty as senators to ensure that the interest of the people, state and the Federal Governments are protected. Iam assuring you that by the time we live in Akwa Ibom peace will surely return to the oil producing communities in the Eastern Obolo Local Government Area.”
Akpan advised the Akwa Ibom Government to ensure unity of oneness amongst the people of oil producing communities to encourage rapid socio- economic development to take place in the state.
The state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, while welcoming the committee chairman and members to the state, thanked them for sacrificing their time and energy to visit the state on oversight functions to restore peace in the host community of Iko in Eastern Obolo where Sterling Global Oil was exploring oil.
Emmanuel, represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, pledged the resolve of the government and people of the state to cooperate with the National Assembly in the formulation of laws that would help to drive the economy and protect the interest of the Nigerian public.
He emphasized the need for the Federal Government to provide Akwa Ibom with adequate fund, considering the position of the state as the number one oil producing state in the country.
Emmanuel enlisted the assistance of the management of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in ensuring the provision of the desired financial benefits to the state in recognition of its contributions to the national economy.
The secretary to the state government (SSG), Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, while setting the tone of deliberations, said a committee that represented various interest groups with the paramount ruler of Eastern Obolo and others as members has been constituted by the state government for the resolution of the conflict with the oil exploration company and the host Eastern Obolo Local Government Area.
Ekuwem stressed the need for the oil exploration company to operate in harmony with their host communities, according to the laws of the land for the best to be achieved.
The managing director, NPDC, Mr Marshal Sambo, explained that his company having been in operations 33 years ago, has 24 assets, noting that the engagement of Sterling Global Oil for oil exploration in the state was intended to show the world the model in oil exploration.
Sambo said they were having challenges in only one out of the three communities the company was exploring oil in the state, explaining that their visit was to secure the support and cooperation of the state government for them to operate successfully.
He pledged the resolve of the oil exploration company to ensure that the interests of the host communities are protected through the development of basic infrastructure that would be beneficial to them in addition to generating revenue to the state and Federal Governments.
The former military administrator of Akwa Ibom, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, while contributing to the deliberations, was optimistic that with the latest efforts being made by the Senate Committee on Upstream Petroleum, peace would be restored to the area.
Nkanga called on the management of Sterling Global Oil to relocate their corporate headquarters to Akwa Ibom where they were doing oil explorations, noting that flying into Akwa Ibom to explore oil and later fly out would not guarantee good working relationship with their host communities.