The Rivers State government and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), the Nigerian operation of oil supermajor, Royal Dutch Shell on Sunday initiated the Egi/Igbutu Cluster Development Board for pipeline communities around SPDC’s Assa North Gas project.
With the capacity to process 300 million standard cubic feet of gas a day, it has the prospect of becoming the biggest indigenous gas project in the country when delivered, Shell said in a statement.
Elloka Tasie-Amadi, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs told board members to leverage the opportunity of leadership for maximum impact, capable of bettering the living standards in their communities.
“The state government is always available to support you. Always speak with your people, including the Community Trust Committees (which were also newly inaugurated).
Adequate communication will ensure the buy-in of all your stakeholders.”
Igo Weli, General Manager External Relations at Shell, said at the inauguration: “the Global Memorandum of Understanding that you signed today sets the framework for long-term partnership between SPDC JV and the Egi/Igburu Cluster.
“The GMoU runs on the principle of community-led development. Today, SPDC JV commits to providing funding to help you realise your community development aspirations.”
Weli, who stood in for Banji Adekoya, Shell’s External Relations Manager for Projects and Opportunities, enjoined the CDB to “be prudent and implement projects and programmes that will deliver maximum benefits to the Egi/Igburu communities,” adding that they were duty-bound to offer government, SPDC JV and the communities they represent proper deployment of the development funds.
“With the inauguration, SPDC reiterates the company’s commitment to the Assa North Gas Project and to making it an exemplary one, particularly in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency, for power generation and industrialisation.”
A joint venture between Shell, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, the Nigerian government and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, the Assa North/Ohaji South gas project is planned to produce a new Shell gas processing plant.
Oil companies in Nigeria have initiated over the last decade community development organizations comprising traditional and youth leaders to define and implement development projects based on the community’s needs. While they have to an extent contributed to peace in oil producing communities, they are far from being a replacement for an effective state that is able to spend revenue from the oil resources of the area to generate inclusive development and effectively clamp down on widespread criminality such as the activities of gangs and warlords who feed on oil theft and kidnapping for ransom. The Niger Delta Development Commission, a Federal Government agency founded to invest in economic and social development in Nigeria’s oil producing communities, has been mired in the same political capture and deep corruption that created the need for it.