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Why I stopped attending oil and gas conferences abroad -Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu has offered reasons why he stopped attending Oil and Gas conferences abroad, describing the huge attendance of Nigerian population at International conferences as a waste and not beneficial to the sector.

According to Kachukwu, though with his 25 years in Exxon Mobil and ChevronTexaco he had attended many International Oil trade conferences, his last attendance of oil and Gas Conference was in 2017 in Texas, United State where he noticed the huge population in attendance don’t make presentation but used the opportunities for holidays and Shopping’s.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, while speaking in Yenagoa at the 2019 Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair hosted by the Nigerian Development, Content and Monitoring Board(NDCMB), said the decision generated controversy among foreign media, it has paid off with the two editions of oil and Gas conferences in Nigeria.

According to Kachukwu, “In 2017, in Houston, Texas, I told the world press that this was going to be my last attendance at Oil and Gas conferences. It generated lots of noise and controversy. But in my 25years in the industry, I have spent lots of times going to oil conferences. I just figured that we have gotten to a point where we had lots of Nigerian population attendance and most of our delegates never went to presentations. They spend good tome on holidays and return back home.

“And when I attended in 2017,just after being made Minister, it was my last. And I said there was the need to develop conferences for Nigeria and Africa. Now, we have had two editions and they were successful. ”

The Minister commended the management of the Nigerian Development, Content and Monitoring Board(NDCMB) led by the Executive Secretary, Simbi Wabote of the initiative to host the successful conferences in the country.

On the Litigation by Aiteo’s host community in Nembe Bassanbiri against the move to renew OML 29 lease licence, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resource Dr Ibe Kachikwu said the legal redress sought by the Nembe communities in Bayelsa over renewal of the OML lease would not disrupt oil production.

Kachikwu said though he was yet to be served the court processes, the disagreement between the operator of the oil block and members of its host communities had no bearing with the licensing process.

“To start with, I have not been served with the court processes and the case cannot affect oil production, we cannot halt oil production because there is a disagreement with the community,” Kachikwu said.

The aggrieved Communities of Opu-Nembe in Nembe-Bassanbiri area of Bayelsa State had last week dragged the Federal Government and two oil multinationals to Court over the alleged plan to process the application submitted for the renewal of Oil Mining Lease 29 for another 20years.

Those dragged before the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa include the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the Site Exploration and Production Limited.

The aggrieved Communities, led by their representatives, in the Suit numbered FHC/YNG/CS/62/2015, are asking the Court for an order setting aside the application, steps and processes initiated by Aiteo Exploration and Production Limited, who is identified as the 5th defendant,pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit. .

Also they ask for such further order as the court may seem fit to make in the circumstances.

In their writ of summon, made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, the aggrieved communities, through their counsel, explained the ground for their application to include, “the plaintiff by the suit filed on 4th August, 2015 seek to inter Alia restrain the Minister of Petroleum (2nd defendant) from renewing oil mining lease 29 in favour of the 5th defendant unless all pending issues raise in the suit ate addressed.

“The 5th defendant, between 22nd January, 2018 and 22nd January, 2019,applied for and made payments to the 2nd defendant through the Department of Petroleum Resources for the renewal or processing of application for renewed of oil mining lease 29 (OML 29).

“The plaintiffs by this suit are also seeking an order of the Court mandating the 2nd,3rd and 4th to commission an independent and comprehensive environmental impact study to assess the impact of over 53 years of operation in OML 29 on the plaintiff communities and environment, similar to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland.

“On or about 1st of March,2019, further conducting the plaintiff prayers for an assessment, a massive explosion and a resulting fire occurred in one of the Wells in OML 29 bloc, exposing host communities and other environment and traditional livelihood to great danger. This incident is yet to be properly investigated and the 5th defendant has so far failed to adequately involve regulators and hist communities in addressing it.”