…Says DPR Has Keys To Unlocking Of Stranded Oil In OML 11
Though every effort to facilitate the resumption of oil exploration and production activities in Ogoni since the shutdown in 1993 due to crisis in the communities and insecurity has yielded no positive results, there is still hope the oil rich Ogoni could allow for renewed oil exploration in the area.
This was the view of Dr. Eddie Wikina, an oil exploration expert and former Managing Director of Treasure Energy Resources Ltd, and Ex-General Manager in Shell, Nigeria.
According to the oil and gas exploration expert, all plans to get an operator back in Ogoni after the former, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, was chased away have failed primarily because the attempts were done secretly, with selected companies not going through an open and transparent process in line with recognized industry practices.
Some of these companies, Dr. Wikina said, include Belema Oil, Robo Michael, TEN Oil and Sahara Energy. He said all these companies were rejected by Ogoni people because they were allegedly forced on them.
The oil and gas exploration expert opined that any process that will lead to successful resumption of oil exploration and production activities in Ogoni must include the views and wishes of the people, and such views must be open and transparent.
According to him, the Ogoni people have gone through a wide stakeholder's engagement process, to produce a template to guide the process of selecting an operator who is acceptable. The template he added, must address the needs, interests, concerns and expectations of a wide spectrum of Ogoni.
Dr. Wikina recalled the ongoing 2020 bid round for 57 marginal oil fields located offshore, swamp and onshore terrains in the Niger Delta by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which is expected to be concluded this year.
He said the process applied in the current bid round for the 57 marginal fields should be followed in the Ogoni case but with the guidelines refined to reflect the Ogoni template.
The activities according to Dr. Wikina are usually run in accordance with specific guidelines made public as part of the bid process.
“This is the key to unlocking the stranded vast oil and gas reserves within OML 11 in Ogoni. The fields should be thrown open to interested Nigerian oil companies, and award to follow any of these options:
- One oil field allocated to one company.
- Maximum of two oil fields awarded to one company.
- Combination of 1, 2 or 3 Companies awarded 1 or a number of fields.
“The above will lead to reduced risk exposure for the companies, and also ensure reduced financial burden in raising capital for field development. Sharing of the fields will create more employment opportunities, and lead to faster development to reach first oil. Awarding all the fields to one company is therefore not recommended. It is expected that the usual community incidents and crisis will be eliminated or substantially reduced, since the award process included the demands of the people as enshrined in the Ogoni Template.
“Majority of Ogoni people have been yearning for resumption of E&P activities with some preconditions which include assurance of environmental safety, and meeting specific social and economic development needs. This recommendation addresses their needs and concerns, and will lead to early re-opening the Ogoni kingdoms to the much desired economic activities after 27 years of inactivity, that resulted in increased poverty, insecurity, militancy, illegal bunkering and environmental degradation. The key for this to happen lies with the DPR”, the oil and gas exploration expert, Dr. Eddie Wikina declared.