Youths from Nembe Communities in Bayelsa have shutdown two flow stations within OML 29 to protest the divestment of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) from the field.
A resident, Michael Dennis, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that the communities were aggrieved over the sale of the asset by Shell without recourse to the community.
Dennis said the youths embark on the protest following several attempts to get the oil firms involved in the deal to factor in the interest of the host communities.
He said youths stormed the oil field in more than 20 speedboats and shut it down without any resistance by the armed security men deployed to the facility.
The resident said that the youths had forced oil workers operating the facility to safely shutdown the facility to avert any accident or damage to the installation.
It will be recalled that Shell in March 2015 sold off its equity stake in OML for 1.7 billion dollars to Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production.
The security operatives claimed they were not aware of the incident, but ASP Asinim Butwat, told NAN that an official in the oil firm confirmed the development to him.
“Checks at Nembe Division showed that the matter was not yet reported to the Divisional Police Officer, but a source in the facility confirmed the incident and said that it is being sorted out,” Butswat said.
Nembe communities in Bayelsa and Shell held divergent views on outstanding oil spill compensation and environmental damages as the oil firm plans to divest its assets in the area.
Nembe Oil and Gas Committee had in March 2013 urged prospective investors interested in acquiring Shell’s interests in oil fields in the area to investigate outstanding liabilities.
The community stated that Shell had an outstanding liability of about one billion dollars in damages and compensation in the oil firm’s operations for the past 50 years in Nembe.
Chief Nengi James, Chairman of the Nembe Oil and Gas Committee, however, assured that the community would extend its peaceful disposition to the new investors.
Efforts to get reaction from Aiteo Exploration and Production was unsuccessful. (NAN)