Posted by News Express | 5 October 2017 | 1,131 times
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has waded into the rift between the Bayelsa State Government and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), urging the government to withdraw pending suits for an out-of-court settlement.
The Bayelsa State Government had in April 2016 sealed off SPDC’s $22bn Ubie-Gbarian gas gathering facility over the oil firm’s failure to pay development levies for the plant situated at the state capital in enforcement of the orders of a Yenagoa High Court.
It was gathered that at a meeting brokered by Kachikwu, the Bayelsa State Government urged the Federal Government to prevail on SPDC to pay its outstanding debts to Bayelsa.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday and signed by Mr Francis Agbo, Chief Press Secretary to Bayelsa Governor, Dickson made the call at a meeting with Dr. Kachikwu and top officials of the firm.
The Governor said the meeting with the Minister crucial because he was in a strategic position to use his goodwill to persuade the multinational oil firm to pay statutory bills and levies, which the company stopped paying after making an initial payment several years ago.
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 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.
While stressing that Bayelsa has created a conducive environment for investments to thrive, Dickson reiterated his calls on multinational oil firms operating in the Niger Delta to show more seriousness and commitment to the development of their host communities.
He said the call became imperative because the oil and 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.
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