Yenagoa – The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has intervened in the dispute between Bayelsa government and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over nonpayment of development levy by the oil company.
The Bayelsa government had in April 2016 sealed off SPDC’s $22 bn Ubie-Gbarian gas facility over the oil firm’s alleged failure to pay development levies for the plant in Yenagoa.
The action was in enforcement of an order of a Bayelsa State High Court in Yenagoa.
It was gathered that at a meeting brokered by Kachikwu, the minister appealed to the Bayelsa Government to withdraw the pending suit before the court.
Bayelsa government, however, urged the Federal Government to prevail on SPDC to pay its outstanding debts to it.
A statement issued on Wednesday by Mr Francis Agbo, Chief Press Secretary to Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson, re-affirmed the position of the state government at the meeting.
It said the governor urged the minister to persuade the multinational oil firm to pay statutory bills and levies which the company stopped paying.
The agenda of the meeting was the enforcement notice for the Gbaraun-Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas facility, among others.
According to the statement, Dickson noted that the SPDC had acquired a property close to the size of Lagos Island in the state without making the necessary payments to the relevant agencies of the government.
It said the governor restated the commitment of the government to make Bayelsa a conducive environment for investments to thrive.
The statement also quotes Dickson as urging multinational oil firms operating in the Niger Delta to play their part in the development of their host communities.
According to the governor, the oil/gas companies have a key role to play in the development of Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation.
The statement quoted the representative of the SPDC, Mr Abubakar Ahmed, as expressing the willingness of SPDC to engage more with the state government in order to resolve the lingering dispute.
The minister reportedly advised the two parties to suspend all litigations relating to the matter and meet in two weeks to resolve the matter. (NAN)