Senate backs oil firms HQs’ relocation to Niger Delta

The Senate, on Tuesday, commenced moves that would facilitate early relocation of headquarters of international oil companies in Nigeria to the Niger Delta region.

The red chamber mandated its committees on Petroleum Resources Upstream; Downstream Petroleum Sector and Gas to liaise with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Petroleum Industry Act to facilitate the relocation.

Most multinational and Nigerian oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta had relocated their headquarters and operational bases to Lagos, citing security concerns and restiveness in the Niger Delta.

The resolution of the Senate followed a motion titled: ‘Urgent need to encourage all multinational and Nigerian oil and gas companies to relocate to their operational bases’ moved by Senator Albert Akpan, representing Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District.

Akpan in his lead debate urged the Senate to note with concern that multinational and Nigerian oil and gas companies have 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.

Akpan added, “Aware that operating outside the host communities and operational base is 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.

“Recalls that this high cost of production has been one of the most contentious elements of our petroleum industry value chain.

“Convinced that the recent passage and signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 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.

“Further convinced that the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 now places 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.

“Further convinced that (the relocation of oil companies to their operational bases) 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 relationship and strengthen our collective resolve to considerably reduce the contentious cost of production and ensure adequate returns to the federation account.”

The motion was co-sponsored by 23 other senators.

Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (Bayelsa East), said the relocation of the operational bases of oil majors to the Niger Delta was long overdue.

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