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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Olu of Warri Hosts Maiden Edition of Iwereland Petroleum Host Communities Summit

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As part of efforts in educating the host communities on the implementation of the Host Community Development Trusts in oil-producing, the Ògíamẹ̀ Atúwàtse III – The Olú of Warri has hosted the maiden edition of the Iwereland Petroleum Host Communities Summit at, Àghọ̀fẹn, Ajamimogha – Warri, Delta State.

Speaking as the keynote speaker the Olú of Warri kicked off the event with a keynote address titled a New Dawn. Talking on the importance of the PIA to the host communities, he said, “The PIA is essentially an instrument, designed to cure the appetites of individuals who have become used to appropriating the commonwealth to themselves or mismanaging the wealth to the detriment of the destiny of the people.

He further explained; “The primary purpose of the PIA is to assist in any developmental purpose, deemed beneficial to the host communities, as may be determined by the Board of Trustees; members of the Boards must invest part of the available funds for and on behalf of the host communities. This crucial role demands an equilibrium of High Performance and Trustworthiness, as the parameters for effective operational excellence of the Boards. This is an engagement to promote awareness and enjoin the people, to participate actively and wisely in choosing their representation in the activation of this all-important act.”

Currently, Nigeria has the potential to produce about 2.3 million barrels of oil per day being the technical allowable. Unfortunately, the country can only produce about 1.9 million barrels of oil per day out of which only about 1.35 million barrels of oil per day is received at the terminals due to massive crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.  In the first Quarter of 2022 alone, out of about 141 million barrels of oil produced, total volume of about 9 million barrels of oil was lost to crude oil theft. This amounts to a loss in Government revenue of about 1 billion United States Dollars (at $116 per barrel) or about 434 Billion Naira (at CBN rate of N 415/$) which is about 90% the size of Delta State’s budget of N479 billion for the 2022 fiscal year (Source: Thisdaylive).

It’s in recognition of pipeline theft and vandalism as well as the need to optimize oil and gas resources development and production that the Federal Government, with the support of the 9th NASS, passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.

In the same vein, Commission Chief Executive, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Engr. Gbenga Komolafe gave a presentation titled; The Implementation of the Host Communities’ Development Trusts In Oil-Producing Itsekiri Communities Under the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

Engr Komolafe commended the host, Your Royal Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse III – The Olu of Warri, for organizing a very important summit, especially at this particular time, the first of its kind in Nigeria. He said; “We are witnessing for the first time a concerted, deliberate, and focused effort by a highly revered Monarch to create awareness and provide critical information that will empower Nigerian citizens within the host communities with the knowledge required to access the robust benefits provided by the Federal Government under the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.”

In his speech, he assured the host communities that under his watch, the Commission has concluded arrangements to ensure that the regulations guiding the implementation of the host community development fund under the PIA 2021 come into effect before the end of June 2022.

He said; “The development will signal the commencement of seamless implementation of the host community development fund for the benefit of oil producing communities. Accordingly, the Commission, empowered by the PIA, has steered our focus towards working with the host communities and other stakeholders to ensure business investments in the oil and gas sector are adequately protected while ensuring the safety and sustainability of the environment. As our commitment to you, we shall ensure that the 3% deduction required from the Settlor’s annual OPEX is not shortchanged and that funds are remitted in good time. We shall also ensure that projects and programmes proposed by the HCDT are implemented as well as ensure fair and adequate compensation for damaged environment and apply sanctions where necessary on defaulters.”

In a concluding statement, Ogiame Atuwatse III – The Olu of Warri,  said; “The driving spirit and recurring theme of the PIA, is inclusion and the support of local initiatives for the security of the host communities. As a result, each one has equal access to not only opportunities, but resources, as would otherwise have been the case where some are marginalised or outrightly excluded from the wealth that belongs to us all.

We intend that The Iwereland Global Masterplan will be so well put together, that all arms of government and intervention agencies become fully committed to being a part of that plan. We will discourage idleness and a sense of entitlement, while encouraging competence and all that brings added value to the effort. We assure government, companies, non-governmental organisations and regulatory authorities, that we are well aware that our job is to make Iwereland more hospitable for business – whether Energy or otherwise – no matter the obstacles thrown our way.”

The one-day event aimed at discussing and educating host communities on the implementation of the Host Community Development Trusts in oil-producing Itsekiri communities under the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), saw in attendance, key stakeholders of the oil and gas sector including Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, CEO, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Babangida Umar Esq., Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Dr Josiah Efe, Ministry of Oil and Gas while Chief Emman Amgbadugba, represented the Governor of Delta State.

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