The Anglo-Dutch oil and gas super major, Shell, is out of the woods, so says the Managing Director of the big oil’s subsidiary in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor.
Though he did not any detail, Okunbor simply said, ‘’Shell Petroleum Development Company is already out of the woods through the hard work of her staff.’’
He spoke during their end of year party and 60th anniversary in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
At the event, Governor Nyesom Wike used the occasion to call on international oil majors to locate their headquarters in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s main oil region where they are operating.
Governor Wike said that it was unfair that oil majors drill oil in the Niger Delta, only to pay taxes in other states, adding, ‘’you find this region comfortable to drill oil and generate revenue which sustains the entire country. But when it comes to the location of your headquarters, very many excuses emerge.
‘’Those who talk about insecurity in the Niger Delta forget that they are secure enough to work on oil fields in different communities.
‘’This level of injustice is not good for any country. I hear that majority of your workers receive their salaries in Lagos and Abuja, with their taxes deducted at those locations.
‘’We want you to return to our states and energise our communities with your presence. I am interested in the revenue that will accrue to this state and other Niger Delta states by the presence of your headquarters.
‘’I am an unrepentant Niger Delta man. Therefore, I will continue to advocate for our progress. Despite the negative politics against the region, the headquarters of the oil majors will eventually come to the Niger Delta.’’
‘’If this oil was in the North or in the West, would the headquarters of the oil majors be located in the Niger Delta? Certainly, not’’, Governor Wike said.
On next year’s general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor urged oil workers to participate in the process to ensure the emergence of quality leaders who will rescue the country.
He accordingly commended the staff of Shell for keeping the company afloat despite the undisclosed numerous operational challenges the company was said to have faced.
Okunbor had earlier commended Governor Wike for his commitment to creating the right operational environment in the state and also thanked him for working with stakeholders to ensure that one of their major facilities closed for one year was opened through peaceful means.
Shell is one of the world’s largest polluters and has a long track record of obstructing climate policymaking. In 2013, the giant oil corporation was found guilty of environmental crimes in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s polluted oil region.
‘’We have a message for Shell and companies that pretend the solution to the climate catastrophe doesn’t demand the end of fossil fuels. To the Shell executives who got rich from the suffering of the Ogoni people and communities living on the frontlines of dirty energy and climate change impacts we say: You are the last gasp of a system on the way out. You are on the wrong side of history. We will not rest until you stop extracting fossil fuels and pay for the damage you have caused.’’ – Sara Shaw, Friends of the Earth International
‘’In the Niger Delta we have endured 60 years of gross oil pollution, gas flares and human rights abuses. Today the world has 12 years to right the wrongs. Shell and their cohorts must be kicked out of the COP and held to account.’’ – Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation.
Communities directly impacted by the abusive practices of the oil major spoke out as fossil-fuel trade association IETA hosted representatives from the Big Polluter for an event at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 24th conference of the parties (COP24).
The side event happened just days after a Shell executive bragged about the corporation’s influence over the Paris Agreement.