As a part of its commitment to social performance and demonstration of value to its neighbouring communities within the Niger-Delta Communities, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and FIRST Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited (FIRST EP) Joint Venture have signed a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) with the KEFFES Rural Development Foundation (KDRF) in Bayelsa State.
The KRDF is the governing arm of the eight communities that have been identified as the neighboring communities to the Assets. The KEFFES communities comprise of Koluama1, Koluama 2, Ezetu 1, Ezetu 2, Foropa, and Fish Town, Ekeni and Sangana. “KEFFES” is an acronym formed from the initial letter of the names of each of the eight communities.
The GMoU is aimed at formalising the partnership between NNPC/FIRST EP, KDRF and the Bayelsa State Government as critical stakeholders in the development of oil mining leases 83 and 85 (the Assets).
FIRST EP is a Nigerian oil and gas company that was established in 2011 and commenced business operations in July, 2012. At the signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Bayelsa State on Tuesday 14 August 2018, the representatives of the eight communities expressed their delight with the GMoU, which seeks to among other things, encourage socio-economic development within the communities. Speaking on the rationale behind the GMoU, the General Manager,
Corporate Services, FIRST EP, Mr. Emmanuel Etomi said the Joint venture partners are interested in the wellbeing their neighbouring communities and wish to contribute to their development.
“We are particularly happy with our neighbouring communities represented here today. Since we opened conversation and started engagement with them, the response has been good. At every level of our development, we have ensured that the communities are involved because they are critical to our collective success.
“ As a company, we are particular about our social performance and interested in the good of all our valued community stakeholders. It is for this reason that we are signing the GMoU today to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable development within and around our areas of operation” Etomi said.
On the content of the GMoU, Etomi said, “the terms of the GMoU are explicit and designed to mutually benefit all partners. He prayed all parties to adhere to the agreed terms within the GMoU and always use dialogue to resolve all issues.
In his remark, the Honourable Commissioner in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Mr. Markson Fefegha said that the partnership will further encourage communal participation and contribute to socio-economic development within the region.
He noted that “Bayelsa has well educated individuals across its various communities, and when they are consulted by the oil and gas companies, it makes things a lot easier. We believe that engagements between companies and communities that take on the interests of the communities will help reduce the restiveness in the Niger Delta.
“We appreciate the passion shown by FIRST EP and I plead with the communities to always seek alternative peaceful resolution options in conflict settlement. This will help create a thriving economy for our state, improve our IGR, and collectively, the companies and communities will benefit”.
Representative of the Manager, Corporate Affairs, National Petroleum Investment Management Services/Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NAPIMS-NNPC), Mr. Bappah Babayo in his goodwill message appreciated the gesture of the NNPC/ FIRST EP joint venture and the willingness of the KEFFES communities to ensure the successful implementation of the GMoU.
He assured that NNPC is committed to an effective implementation of the GMoU across the communities involved. At regular intervals, NAPIMS will undertake site visits to monitor the progress of projects expected to be implemented under the GMoU.”
Speaking on behalf of the KEFFES communities, the Chairman, KRDF, Mr. Seleepri Mathew said “the signing of the GMoU is one part of a mutual relationship that has existed for the past three years. The signing puts a seal on the trust we have shared for as long as the relationship has lasted.
For KEFFES, the coming of FIRST EP is a great relieve to us because we have been challenged with finance to execute the KRDF’s project. But with this new development, we are sure we will be able to do more. We appreciate the sincerity of the company and promise to always cooperate with them.”
Under the terms of the GMoU, the KDRF determine the communities’ development plans while the joint venture partners provide funding based on the duration and terms of the GMoU. This will ensure that the communities have stable funding for the implementation of their community development plans.