Protesters yesterday confirmed that they have shut down six Idu oilfield wells run by Nigerian Agip Oil Co. Ltd, a unit of Italian oil major ENI.
The group, which called itself the Agrisaba Oil and Gas Committee, said production was shut down on Tuesday evening after it failed to resolve a number of disputes with the firm, including the provision of jobs for locals.
“The community has therefore decided that the facility be shut down till further notice until such a time that all these knotty issues have been resolved,” it said in a statement.
Reuters reported that one Solomon Ogiama, who is a member of the Egbebiri community that shut the wells at the field in Bayelsa state, cited various grievances. Among them was a claim that the company owed money for the guarding of its wells since 2014 and that it had failed to pay compensation for oil spills.
Oil production in the delta, in the southeast of Africa’s biggest crude exporter and largest economy, has often been disrupted by locals frustrated at the lack of development in their communities.
Last week, protesters shut down crude oil production at two flow stations of the Nembe oilfield over what they said was the sell-off of the region’s energy wealth without the approval of its inhabitants.
The protesters, mostly young men, arrived in about 30 speedboats and climbed the fence at one station with no resistance, and dodged security at the other.
The paramount ruler of Egbebiri, Chief Aniedima Nicholas, said that they disrupted the oil production because of NAOC’s refusal to renew the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the community.
Nicholas said the maiden MoU signed in 2001 lapsed in 2005, but efforts to get the oil firm to renew the MoU proved abortive.
He said: “Our grievances are due to the insensitive posture of Agip to our developmental needs. Our needs and expectations are captured in that agreement and if you look at the few amenities we have here, they are products of the first MoU.
“From 2005 till date, Agip abdicated its role and that stagnated development here. The road you see was from that MoU. We have waited for too long and decided to take this final step. We are prepared to go to any length to bring them to the negotiation as pay us our outstanding liabilities for jobs done by the community for more than one year.
“Our surveillance jobs on their pipelines have continued despite heavy debts owed us as well as pending compensation for oil spills since 2010,” Nicholas said.

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