The joy of Mr. Osajie Okunbor, managing director (SPDC) and lead country chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria was different as stakeholders and collaborators heralded the groundbreaking ceremony of the Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre as well as the Local Content Conference Hotel in Bayelsa state yesterday by President Muhammadu Buhari
The Oloibiri Museum and Research Center sits on the spot his company lifted the first oil barrel in Nigeria in commercial quantities in 1958. And the rest for the West African country, now member of the OPEC, is history.
The Center is being developed as collaboration between the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and the Bayelsa State Government (BYSG)
The Oloibiri oilfields currently falls under Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, now operated by indigenous oil firm, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production, following SPDC’s divestment from the asset in 2015.
Aiteo acquired Shell’s interest in OML 29, which includes the 97 kilometre Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) for $2.4 billion.
At the opportunity of holding the microphone, Okunbor said, “I am delighted at the opportunity to present this goodwill message on behalf of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria [SPDC].”
Okunbor told Shell’s story in Nigeria. SPDC is the operator of the Joint Venture involving the NNPC Limited, Shell, Total Energies E&P Limited and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company limited (NAOC).
“This is history in the making and the SPDC Joint Venture is proud to be associated with it. Indeed, the energy story of Nigeria has come home! It was here in 1958 that Shell opened the first pages of the history of energy in Nigeria.
“The first commercial find of hydrocarbons was here in Oloibiri and the subsequent first export of oil which launched Nigeria into the league of oil producers was also from here.
“More than six decades later, the social investments of Shell in Oloibiri, both as a sole sponsor and in collaboration with our joint venture partners have been a testament to the importance of the historic event that occurred here, over six decades ago.
“The Shell Group, in recognition of the pivotal place of Oloibiri in Nigeria, commissioned, in 2019 and later in 2022, one of the biggest Shell health interventions programs anywhere in Nigeria.
“This intervention involved the commissioning of a fully remodeled and equipped general hospital at Kolo, fully equipped laboratories in the College of Health Technology, Otuogidi, solar-powered water treatment facilities for the communities, the Oloibiri Health Campus at Oloibiri town, and the Ogbia Safe Maternal and Infant Care Programme, amongst other health interventions within Oloibiri and its environs,” Okunbor reeled out the seemingly, unending list of interventions
He said the SPDC applauded the effort of the Federal Executive Council in the step-by-step approach that has culminated in the approval for construction and the contract award to develop the Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre.
Okunbor observed that the groundbreaking ceremony reflects the collaborative effort and tenacity of the promoters, namely PTDF, NCDMB, SPDC JV and the Bayelsa state government.
“I, therefore, congratulate us all again on this seminal and highly important event. There is no doubt in my mind that, when concluded, this museum and research center will be a one-stop shop in the heart of the Niger Delta for the development of technologies for the energy of today and the energy of tomorrow.
“I expect that the center will grow to collaborate with relevant academic institutions in the Niger Delta and beyond, to further the much-needed handshake between the energy industry in Nigeria and academia,” he said.
He urged the community to see Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre as their own and not another project implemented by the government and multinationals.
“Rather, I expect the people to own, protect and take pride in the historical and future relevance of this facility, while also taking advantage of the many opportunities it will offer,” he said