Abuja — Nigeria and the international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the oil-rich Niger Delta region can leverage on the practice of participatory partnership to combat the menace of oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the country, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, (PGPA) of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, has said.
Speaking during a panel discussion on 'innovative strategies - combating crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism' at the just concluded 2018 edition of the annual Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) conference and exhibition in Abuja recently, Brikinn, suggested the practice which CNL had developed and now use in engagements at its operations could serve the industry well.
He noted that every IOC in Nigeria had been affected in one way or the other by the activities of oil thieves mostly in the Niger Delta who engage in illegal bunkering and refining of oil.
According to him, the activities of these people have continued to cause significant damages to the environment and revenue streams of the industry, thus leading to loss of benefits across board.
Brikinn, stated that CNL evolved a proactive approach to combating the issue of oil theft and pipeline vandalism by involving relevant stakeholders including the government security forces, the relevant state governments and the regional development committees (RDCs) under a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).
The GMoU, he noted has remained a community-driven multi-stakeholder participatory partnership model for engagement and sustainable development in CNL's areas of operations in Nigeria.
He further explained that using the GMoU, CNL set up a platform known as the Community Pipeline and Facilities Surveillance Programme (CPFSP) with strong governance frameworks.
He also stated that the CPFSP has thus become a model for enhancing the fight against oil theft and pipeline sabotage, in addition to enhancing multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaboration and providing sustainable social license for oil and gas operations.
Further, Brikinn, stated that the CPFSP has operated for 13 years, adding that through the GMoU, CNL has recorded significant achievements especially in areas of education, health, and economic development.
"The NNPC/CNL JV has contributed over NGN20.6 billion to the RDCs to implement projects and programmes for about 600,000 beneficiaries in more than 400 communities.
"In terms of managing conflict and enhancing peace in communities, the GMoU story is one we are very proud to tell, and has resulted in very impressive footprints in various communities and the model has helped improve CNL's relationship with its neighbouring communities, as it created a clearer and more predictable channel for dialogue," said Brikinn.
While commending the commitment of the traditional institutions, the government security forces, the community and RDC leaders for driving the multi-stakeholder collaboration for asset protection, Brikinn noted that CNL would continue to work to strengthen its relationship with the stakeholders.
He explained: "The community leaders have shown great commitment to this process and has seen the connection between CNL's operations and their livelihood. They understand that an enabling environment for our operations translates to continuous benefits to the communities in terms of our contributions to their socio-economic development."
Meanwhile, CNL's Managing Director, Mr. Jeff Ewing, in a related development, asked for a competitive fiscal framework to drive investments in deep-water gas projects in Nigeria.
Ewing, said while contributing to the panel discussion on "unlocking Nigeria's investment potential," at the NOG, that the current relative stability in the global oil markets presented Nigeria the opportunity to appraise the industry and provide enduring solutions to its challenges.
He said the industry had an opportunity to revive old frontier basin exploration, discover impact resource additions for strategic reserves replacement and growth, as well as enhance efficiency and reduce its cost levels.
Ewing listed some steps he suggested could ensure growth for Nigeria's gas sector. According to him, enacting fiscal terms that encourage development of small to mid-sized assets and reservoirs as well as non-associated gas fields; establishing competitive deep-water gas fiscal framework; as well as supporting and enabling a 'willing buyer - willing seller' gas pricing model could help raise the fortunes of Nigeria's gas market.