28 November 2012, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa – Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has called on the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, to address the issue of multinational oil companies having operational bases outside their areas of operations.
Dickson made the call in Yenagoa, at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between the NCDMB and Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, PETAN, to develop an internship programme for young Nigerian graduates to become technicians, technocrats and engineers in areas relevant to the oil and gas industry.
Speaking on, “The Role of Oil Bearing States and Enhancing Local Content Development,” Dickson stressed that while the board was making efforts to promote local content in the oil and gas industry, it should also consider the involvement of the people of the oil producing states in all aspects of the industry.
He recalled that Bayelsa State was the place where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity, adding that the area is now, “a metaphor of what it is today and what it is likely to be tomorrow, a story of neglect.”
According to the governor, if a census is conducted about those who own oil blocs and oil wells it will be revealed that indigenous participation is lacking in both the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.
He added that those who engage in what he called, “mega deals in the oil industry and stay in mega cities” do so at the detriment and development of the local economies of the areas where oil exploration and exploitation activities take place.
His words, “If you take a census of those involved in the implementation and ownership of oil well, vessels and others, they are not from these devastated communities.
“These top players in the sourcing and lifting of crude from these devastated communities don’t have offices here in the Niger Delta. We have discovered that we produce the oil and these other states take the wealth at our own detriment. Some of these top operators become millionaires and develop other states but they breed militants, create unemployment, environmental degradation in the region.”
Dickson, who noted that the local content board is dear to him in view of the challenges of jobs creation and skills development, expressed government’s preparedness to collaborate with the board through the hosting of the board’s annual conference in the state.
Delivering a keynote address, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Mr. Ernest Nwapa, stressed that for Nigeria to actually become a major oil producer in the world, it must make concerted efforts to own critical components of the resources in the industry.
Nwapa also emphasized the need to develop a competent in-country training and certifying body for building the much needed human capital to drive the oil and gas sector with a view to reducing the current high level of capital flight being suffered by the country.
He however noted that through the contributions of the NCDMB, there is increased indigenous participation in the industry, adding that in the next couple of years, local operations would begin to take greater share of the reserves and production capacity in the sector.