Shell’s Gbarain-Ubie integrated gas plant has been shut down by residents who have embarked on a protest to demand power supply from the electricity unit of the facility.
Hundreds of youths, women, and elders of the community had blocked the access road to the plant and suspended ongoing work at the gas outfit located in the community.
Chief Sabu Martins, Paramount Ruler of Koroama in Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa State who addressed the protesters, urged them to remain resolute until their aims were achieved.
He said that the oil and gas endowed community suffered the adverse impact of gas flares and deserved supply of electricity generated with gas from the area to ameliorate their sufferings.
He noted that the protest had been ongoing for the past three weeks and resulted to forcing contractors to vacate the community until the oil firm gives a commitment to provide electricity to them.
“Today, I and my people, we are protesting to SPDC and to the federal government as well. Koroama is a host community and has the largest proven gas and oil reserve in the entire Shell operations in this area.
“We have agreed that we could die here if light, the only demand we have is not given to us, then Shell will never operate on our land; we have given them time to remove their things, we want government to intervene,” the Monarch said.
Also addressing the protesting members of Koroama community, Miss Ankio Briggs, a Community Rights Activist, noted that the demands of the people who host the gas plant was modest.
“What I have I heard them say today is not different from what has been said for a very long time; what they are demanding for is in line with what Adaka Boro demanded for. “This story about host communities who I call the owners of the resources, it is about self determination; it is about corporate social responsibility the demand is just and right.
“I call on the Government of Bayelsa, Federal Government and Shell to look at the demand although it is not the duty of Shell to provide electricity to Nigerians but it is a social and moral obligation to their hosts,” Briggs said. Mr Joseph Obari, Spokesman for Shell Petroleum Development company(SPDC) in a reaction said that the oil firm had difficulties meeting the demands of electricity to its gas plant host communities due to limited capacity.
“The Bayelsa State Government is leading discussions with Koroama community to end the blockade of SPDC project sites in the area. The community commenced the blockade about three weeks ago to press their demand for free and uninterrupted power supply to the community from SPDC’s gas plant in the area.
“The Gbaran-Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Plant supplies backup power to two neighbouring communities under an agreement entered into with host communities in 2006, during the project conception stage. Due to limitation imposed by the power capacity of the plant, it has been unable to accommodate other communities’ requests to tie into the power system,” Obari said.
“SPDC has progressively fulfilled agreed sustainable community development projects in the community under the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU). For example, in 2014 alone, projects worth over N100m were completed in the Gbarain/Ekpetiama Cluster which covers Koroama,” Obari said.


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