Yenagoa-Contrary to claims that it did not carry out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before embarking on the construction of Shell Petroleum Development Company’s Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS-2) which straddles some communities in Bayelsa Central and East Senatorial districts, the Korean oil servicing firm handling the project, Daewoo Limited, has reiterated its commitment to execute the project in line with the provisions of the EIA approved by the Federal Government in 2006.
Meantime, the company had rid the Kolo Creek of the dreaded water hyacinth making the creek once again navigable for the rural populace.
The EGGS-2 project involves the construction of a 40-inch pipeline to convey gas from Gbaran-Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas project in Bayelsa State to Soku Gas Plant in Rivers State.
General Manager, Public Affairs for the project, J. T Hong, in an interview with Sweet Crude in Yenagoa said, â€œWe have heard reports suggesting there was no EIA for EGGS-2. This is not true. You cannot do a project that straddles many communities in two states without taking into account possible effects and mitigation steps.
â€œWe won the competitive tender and commenced construction from Soku in 2007 only after the EIA was considered and approved. We have complied strictly with the provisions since, and will continue to do so up to the commissioning stage.â€
According to him, the company is not only interested in the EIA as it reinforces its goal of working safely without fatality or damage to the environment but 80 per cent of its workforce is form the communities along the right of way.
â€œOur staff, their loved ones and friends live in these communities and will return to their families after work, and at the end of the contract.
â€œA key aspect of the project was laying the pipeline across Kolo Creek in Bayelsa State, an exercise that required the five-metre waterway to be blocked for sometime. As a mitigation measure, the EIA stipulates the provision of alternative sources of water for the four impacted communities in addition to execution of development projects,â€ he said.
Also speaking on the disputed claim that the company did not carry out EIA before embarking on the project, the company’s Public Relations Manager, Johnson Agagbo said, â€œwe have complied with the EIA in this aspect of the project. The first step we took was to liaise with the set up as part of the implementation of the SPDC Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) initiative in the communities.â€
â€œThe PAC ensures sustained dialogue with all stakeholders on project issues, and comprises representatives of state and local governments, Kolo Creek communities, as well as Shell and its contractors. Together, we embarked on wide ranging awareness and safety campaign to explain the modalities for creek crossing.
â€œWe rehabilitated the water schemes at Oruma, Ibelebiri, Otuasega and Imiringi, and without the EIA saying so, cleared the water weeds on the creek which had blocked movement of boats.
â€œWe finished laying the pipeline across the creek on January 1, 2010 and are currently doing soil restoration to restore the riverbed to its original state. The head of the PAC who is also the chairman of Ogbia Local Government Area Development Committees verified the water schemes to be working.â€
In another development, the SPDC says it has provided more than N320m to the Kolo Creek GMoU cluster communities made up of Elebele, Imiringi, Otuasega and Oruma for community development projects.Among the projects already executed according to the company, are roads, civic centres and teachers’ quarters.