The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has asked Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, to establish some significant presence in the state.
Mr. Dickson made the request Friday when the Managing Director and Country Chair of Shell Group of Companies, Osagie Okubor, visited him at the Government House, Yenagoa.
Mr. Dickson said the relationship between the state and the British–Dutch multinational oil and gas company dates back to 1956 when the company first discovered oil in commercial quantity in Oloibiri.
He however said there was nothing really to show for the many years of oil production in the state.
“For over 60 years, we have just been producing crude from our creeks, forest, and rivers but we don’t have much to show by way of investment here that can really impact on the local economy,” Mr. Dickson said, adding that the state could attract more industries, especially in the oil and gas sector, if Shell establishes its presence in the state.
The state government, Governor Dickson said, was willing and ready to provide office and residential accommodation to the company.
Shell’s head office is in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The company also has offices in Lagos, Abuja and in Warri, Delta State.
“Let me also remind you of the discussion we have had on the need for Shell and other companies that are operating in this state to have some respectable presence in the state,” the governor said to the Shell MD.
“We are not saying they should all relocate back to Bayelsa even though we will love to see that happen.
“The idea is to connect the oil industry back to its roots so that the story can change. Let us open a new partnership that will make people here change their minds about you. Because right now they see you people as buccaneers.”
The governor thanked Shell for its interest in the Brass Fertilizer project and its contribution to the construction of the Ogbia-Nembe road. He appealed to the company to revisit the Brass LNG project.
The Shell MD, Mr. Okubor, said he visited the governor to thank him and the people of the state for creating a peaceful environment for the company to operate in the state.
“We have quite a number of state facilities here and it is to the credit of the governor and the good people of Bayelsa that we have been able to operate with no disruptions,” Mr. Okubor said.
Since the acting President Yemi Osinbajo started his tour of the Niger Delta region to market President Muhammadu Buhari’s “new vision” for the oil producing communities, there has been renewed clamour for the International Oil Companies, IOCs, to relocate their head office to the Niger Delta.
Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited too has been under pressure to relocate its head office from Lagos to Akwa Ibom State where the company is drilling oil.