Shell commences dialogue with Bayelsa communities over threat to disrupt operations

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From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) on Monday disclosed that it is discussing with the Bayelsa government to resolve a dispute with host communities over delay in timeline for electricity projects in Kolo Creek communities.

Kolo Creek communities under the Kolo-Creek Cluster Development Board in the Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa comprise Imiringi, Otuasega, Oruma and Elebele communities.

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The communities had issued a 14- day ultimatum to SPDC to fulfil its agreement with the cluster board on restoring electricity to the communities or face disruptions of its operations.

His Royal Highness, David Osene Osene, speaking on behalf of the communities, lamented that they have been suffering without electricity since 2013.

The Bayelsa State Government in a meeting presided over by the deputy- governor; Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo had pleaded with the communities to give the government the last chance to get around the long-drawn blackout in the area.

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SPDC spokesman Mr Michael Adande assured that the oil firm was working to resolve the dispute amicably.

“The Bayelsa State Government and SPDC are working with the beneficiary communities to deliver the backup electricity project based on a rescheduled delivery timeline.”

The ultimatum letter which was jointly signed by the paramount rulers of Imiringi, Otuasega, Oruma and Elebele communities demanded the restoration of electricity among other due obligations yet to be met.

Also included in their demands are the immediate operationalization of the 2.5 MVA generator installed by Morpol Engineering Services Limited and the award of contract for the Oruma high tension line.

They stated that the SPDC had “deliberately refused to honour the agreements it had with the cluster communities on several occasions since 2013.

They noted that the communities had unanimously resolved to shut down all the oil installations and platforms in Kolo-Creek at the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum.

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