A fresh communal unease has disrupted the operations of the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major, Shell, in Bayelsa State, the home state of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The people of Opukushi community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state are protesting against their exclusion in Shell’s contract deals. The aggrieved community has therefore disrupted oil exploration activities at an oilfield operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in the area.
The area is said to be hosting SPDC’s EA fields. They took to the streets to protest their exclusion from contracts in the ongoing drilling activities.
Chairman of Opukushi Community Development Committee, Preye Simon, a chief, says the people took the steps to draw attention to their plight, alleging that rather than engage the people in the ongoing activities at the field in compliance with the Community Content Guidelines, Shell and its oil services contractors neglected their social obligations to the communities.
Media Relations Manager at SPDC, Bamidele Odugbesan, confirmed that exploration activities have been grounded at the oilfields.
Odugbesan said that the personnel of its contractors were safe and unharmed in the invasion and shutdown of the oil rig working at the field and said that the development has been reported to the appropriate government agencies.
“A large number of men and women invaded a contractor-owned and operated rig working for The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited Joint Venture in Opukushi in Ekeremor Local Government area of Bayelsa State in the early hours of Monday 10 January 2022.
“The invaders forcibly shut down the facility and occupied the safe muster area. Nobody was hurt in the process and the incident was promptly reported to government authorities.” Odugbesan stated.