Mkpoikana Udoma 22 May 2014, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Shell Petroleum and Development Company, SPDC, has restated its commitment to improving environmental practices and performance in all its operations in the Niger Delta region.
The Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, SCIN, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu stated this, Wednesday, at the 2014 edition of the Niger Delta Environment and Reputation Management Stakeholders’ Workshop held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Sunmonu, represented at the event by Mr. Nedo Osayande, Shell’s General Manager on Sustainable Development and Community Relations, emphasized on the urgent need for stakeholders to collaborate to manage environmental concerns and resolve the issues of crude oil theft and illegal refining in the Niger Delta for the improvement of the region’s reputation in order to attract more public and private sector investment.
According to him, “Investors need to view the region as a suitable and enabling environment for business, and we believe sustainable environment can only be achieved when stakeholders have a shared understanding of the challenges and are committed to resolving them together.
“No one can tackle the problems unilaterally and reached a solution, we need the contributions and collaborations from all, from security groups, community chiefs, academia, NGOs, religious bodies, we are willing to cooperate with all stakeholders into finding lasting solutions to be able to achieve what is good for the good of all.”
Mr. Osayande stated that pipeline vandalism and oil theft have significantly affected the nation, stating that in order of concerns, the biggest concern is the environmental degradation that comes from them.
“On the spur, everyone suffers. The company, the environment and the society suffer, which is a big loss, and of course there is also a loss suffered from the loss of volumes of the hydrocarbon itself. Again the bulk of the revenue from oil that is stolen is therefore a loss to the government. The Federal Government loses about 90 percent of what the companies lose because of the reduction in the barrels produced, which is not only painful to the government but to us the company,” he said.
Osayande, while fielding questions from journalists at the event, assured that Shell was working on modalities aimed at reducing gas flaring to the minimal level in the Niger Delta.
In his words, “In various efforts and at all projects we do, we are aiming on driving flares down, which is a continuing process and we will not relent. We have two major projects at the moment that is ongoing aimed at reducing gas flares. We have the Southern Swamp Project and Gastonot Project, and by the time these projects are completed, Shell will be among the best companies in the world (not even in Nigeria) in terms of flare levels”.
On the UNEP report in Ogoniland, he reassured that Shell in collaboration with the Federal Government was working to implement it.
The SPDC stakeholders’ workshop which had the theme; ‘Stakeholder Collaboration for Sustainable Environmental Improvement in the Niger Delta,’ had in attendance captains of industries, civil society rganizations, religious bodies, the Department of Petroleum Resources, other government agencies and representatives from Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom oil producing states.
Suggestions from stakeholders at the workshop in curbing oil theft menace included industrialising the oil producing communities, poverty reduction, community policing, corporate social responsibilities, employment opportunities and SMEs for youths involve in illegal refining activities and legalising and regulating activities of bunkering, amongst others.