The 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.
Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated this while declaring open the technical session of the 5th National Council on Hydrocarbons in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Ewhrudjakpo’s remarks were in a statement shared by Doubra Atasi, the Special Adviser on Media.
He described Oloibiri as the cradle of oil wealth in Nigeria, while lamenting that the pitfalls in oil exploration activities have underdeveloped oil producing areas in the country.
The deputy governor challenged the delegates to come up with a policy document that would help in correcting the mistakes of the past as well as maximise the gas value chain for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders.
He called on policy makers, 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, Ewhrudjakpo 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.
“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 optimise the gas value chain, but also ensure that all the mistakes that characterised our years of crude oil exploration do not come to bare,” he said.
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 commercialisation policy.
The Permanent Secretary was represented by the Director, Planning Research and Statistics in the Ministry, Mr Musa Talle Sa’eed.
The director stressed that the theme of the meeting: “The Gas Potentials of Nigeria: Optimising the Gas Value Chain,” would task participants to formulate ideas to promote better utilisation of the massive gas resources in the country.
By Shedrack Frank