Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State
By Samuel Oyadongha & Emem Idio
YENAGOA BAYELSA State Government has cautioned the federal government and other critical stakeholders in the oil and gas industry against repeating the mistakes that are depriving host communities of their benefits.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated this on Monday while declaring open the technical session of the 5th National Council on Hydrocarbons at the Dappa Biriye Conference Centre in Yenagoa.
Making reference to Oloibiri, which he described as the cradle of oil wealth in Nigeria, the Deputy Governor lamented that the pitfalls in oil exploration activities have underdeveloped oil-producing areas in the country.
Ewhrudjakpo challenged the delegates to come up with a policy document that will help in correcting the mistakes of the past as well as maximize the gas value chain for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders.
He called on policymakers, particularly at the federal level, to ensure that while the country benefits from gas exploration and exports, the host communities should not be left to continually suffer the brunt of gas flaring and other related activities.
To this end, the deputy governor urged the federal government and oil companies to pay the desired attention to oil-producing states and communities through effective planning and implementation of sustainable and standard hydrocarbon policies.
His words, “Clearly, we have not gotten as much as we expected from the exploration of crude oil. So, the thinking now is that we have to go into gas. But going into gas, how ready are we? Have we learnt the lessons associated with the over 60 years of oil exploration and exploitation?”
“As you come here today for this academic gymnastics, we expect that at the end of the day, the policy document you will churn out will not only help us optimize the gas value chain but also ensure that all the mistakes that characterized our years of crude oil exploration do not come to bare”.
In his address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr Bitrus Nabasu, disclosed that the country currently has a gas reserve of over 200 trillion cubic feet, which the federal government has started harnessing through its gas commercialization policy.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director, Planning Research and Statistics in the Ministry, Mr Musa Talle Sa’eed, said the theme of the meeting, “The Gas Potentials of Nigeria: Optimizing the Gas Value Chain,” will task participants to formulate ideas to promote better utilization of the massive gas resources in the country.