Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has called for strategic alliance between host communities in oil producing areas, the international Oil companies (IOCs) and security agencies in securing oil and gas investments in the state.
The Governor made the call Wednesday January 13 during a one-day stakeholders summit on vandalism of oil and gas facilities and installations with the theme, "security and environmental challenges in oil and gas sector in Delta State - the way forward," at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) conference hall, Effurun.
According to Senator Okowa, while the downward trend in crude oil price had led to a sharp drop in allocation to the state from the Federation Account from N20 billion to as low as N6.7 billion, the Governor said, "our problem is further compounded by the recurring decimal of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalization which by most accounts, about 400,000 barrels of oil are stolen daily, accounting for trillions of naira loss to the economy and when we add the value of the gas condensate lost also, the figure become astronomical."
He stated, "the summit should provide insight and proffer solutions to the types of threats faced by oil and gas installations because, we need to have a clear understanding of the various threat groups, the dangers they represent, their goals, capabilities, opportunities, past attacks and possible future attacks," reiterating, "to boost our earnings from oil - which is what this summit is all about - we should construct creative and enduring strategies that will enable strategic alliances among the host communities in oil producing areas, the IOCs and security agencies in securing oil and gas investments in Delta State."
"I must also stress the need for appropriate sanctions to be meted out to oil thieves when they are caught, we need to deal decisively with these economic saboteurs," he asserted, noting that "they need to be fished out and the full weight of the law brought to bear on them to deter others."
Governor Okowa who stated that his administration was committed to maintaining law and order to boost investor's confidence, decried the relocation of some oil companies, especially, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) which led to the state losing "a billion naira in monthly revenue from royalties and taxes," while more than N2 billion monthly was also, being lost in taxes and royalties as a result of some oil companies operating in Delta State failing to domicile their offices and staff in the state.
Governor Okowa assured the people of his administration's determination to develop the non-oil sector, disclosing that the Export Processing Zone which was being developed by the Federal Government which has the capacity of creating 100, 000 direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs when fully operational was still on course.
Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, former Minister of Information commended the Delta State government for organizing the summit and called on the National Assembly to revisit the Petroleum Industry Bill which he said would proffer solutions to some of the challenges facing Nigerian Oil and Gas Sector.
Lectures were delivered by resource persons while officials of oil and gas companies and representatives of security agencies gave talks on different issues on the way forward.
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