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Nigeria Senate Canvasses Relocation of Oil Companies’ Operational Bases to Host Communities

The Nigerian Senate has taken steps towards ensuring that headquarters of oil and gas companies operating in the country are sited in their host communities to ensure unhindered operations. Already,

The Nigerian Senate has taken steps towards ensuring that headquarters of oil and gas companies operating in the country are sited in their host communities to ensure unhindered operations.

Already, its three committees on Petroleum Resources Upstream, Downstream Petroleum Sector and Gas have been mandated to liaise with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), to facilitate the relocation of oil and gas companies in Nigeria to their various operational bases in host communities to ensure smooth operations.

The directive of the Red Chamber was sequel to the consideration of a motion on the, “Urgent need to encourage all Multinational and Nigerian Oil and Gas Companies to relocate to their Operational Bases” sponsored by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan and 23 other Senators.

Bassey in the motion noted with concern that multinational and Nigeria oil and gas companies had over the years been operating from their respective operational bases until militancy and insecurity in the host communities in the Niger  delta became the order of the day.

He also noted that the reason proffered by the oil and gas companies for not relocating to their host communities has always been due to insecurity and hostilities in the host communities.

According to him, operating outside the host communities and operational base was the reason for the high cost of production which has been the bane of the country’s oil and gas industry, militating against maximum revenue from crude oil and gas sales to the federation account.

He recalled that this high cost of production has been one of the most contentious elements of the country’s industry value chain and expressed conviction that the recent passage and signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021(PIA) by the National Assembly and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria respectively, is a major milestone towards the restoration of a lasting peace in the host communities;

The ranking Senator further stressed that the PIA  now placed certain responsibilities on the security, peace and safety of oil and gas infrastructure on the host communities to safeguard and ensure peaceful coexistence between oil and gas  companies and their host communities.

He also said: “Further convinced that is an opportunity to restore, recover and rehabilitate the massive and huge infrastructural facilities abandoned by the various oil and gas companies in their various operational bases to ensure their full utilisation; and

“Assured that the relocation of these companies to their host communities will further boost development in those areas and enhance the corporate social relationships and strengthen out collective resolve to considerably reduce the contentious cost of production and ensure adequate returns to federation account.”

Contributing to the motion, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo said the agitations and problems within the oil and gas producing communities was as a result of their inability to easily access the management of the multinational companies to table complaints.

He said: “I believe that if this motion is passed and implemented, it will go a long way to assuage the yearnings and apprehension of the people within these host communities.

“Mr. President, as a matter of fact, the cause of this situation is that the government of these areas are not even benefitting from the revenue, that is payment of tax, within the localities that they are exploiting this oil and gas, because the workers will claim that they are not resident in these areas.

“The payee is not accruable to the state government. These are some of the things the people suffer on account of locating the headquarters away from the source of the raw materials”.

According to him, the full benefits of the Petroleum Industry Act would not accrue to the Federal Government if effort isn’t made to have the multinational companies relocate to the host communities  where oil and gas is produced.

Deji Elumoye and Juliet Akoje in Abuja