By Sebastine Obasi
Neconde Energy Limited, operator of oil mining lease, OML, 42, said it has not violated the rights of the host communities as it has eschewed nepotism and tribalism in the operation of the oil block located in Delta State.
This assertion is coming on the heels of allegation levelled against the company by Gbaramatu communities, which has displaced the staff of the company at the flow stations.
The communities had alleged that the Management of Neconde Energy Limited (NEL) refused to honour an agreement to remit 5.0 percent of its 45 percent equity to OML 42 host communities and that there has not been any community re-entry project since recommencement of oil exploration activities in OML 42 in 2012.
However, Neconde said that as a joint operator of OML 42 with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), it finds these allegations not only ludicrous, but also a calculated attempt to arm-twist the company into abandoning its transparent operating model that has seen the highest level of engagement of personnel from its host communities in meaningful and sustainable ways in its operations.
The company also explained that it has an established model of executing “Freedom to Operate” agreements with all relevant host communities for all projects and activities in its areas of operation.
According to the company, “Neconde EL prides itself in local talent development and does not in any way ignore the services of local talent, especially in the host communities of its operations. Therefore, this allegation is false and negated by verifiable employment records in our organisation.
”The allegation bordering on hijacking contracts from local contractors is untrue. Local contractors have been providing and continue to provide many services that are key to the operations of the NEL and its Joint Venture (JV) partner NPDC. “However, it is common knowledge that operations have been epileptic due to frequent and sometimes prolonged outages of both the Trans-Forcados Pipeline and the Forcados Export Terminal.
“These frequent outages have made it difficult for the JV to effectively manage some of the contracts it employs in its operation. One of such contracts is the Operate and Maintain (O&M) contract through which the JV manages its field activities. To reduce significant losses to the JV due to wasteful contractual exposures, a decision was made by the JV to manage these O&M activities directly using JV personnel. Consequently, O&M contracts which expired at the end of 2016 were not renewed.
”The most absurd of the allegations by the Gbaramatu Traditional Council is the claim that the Management of Neconde Energy Limited refused to honour an agreement to remit 5% of its 45 percent equity to OML 42 host communities. It is a matter of public record that NEL acquired its equity in OML 42 following the divestment of same by Shell Petroleum Development (SPDC). NEL is unaware of and did not enter into any agreement with any party or parties to sell or otherwise transfer any of its equity, for any consideration whatsoever, to any party or parties. Obviously, Neconde Energy Limited cannot honour, nor should be expected to honour, an agreement that it is not privy to.”