Nigeria Loses $700 Billion to Shutdown of Rivers Oil Field

Port Harcourt — The Federal Government is reportedly losing over $700 billion to the Belema flow station shut down two years ago in Akuku-Toru Local Council of Rivers State.

The facility, operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), was closed in August 2017 following a series of protests by youths and elders from two communities of Kula kingdom.

The protesters, who occupied the flow station for weeks, claimed that the Dutch firm had not considered them during the five-year period the OML 55 was leased to it.

The host community insisted that they no longer want the oil major in their area.

The people later canvassed that the oil field should be allotted to one of their sons and president of Belemaoil Nigeria Limited, Jack-Rich Tein jnr, who according to them, had developed the region, empowered youths and women.

The case of who operates the oil installation however remains unresolved.

But the multinational's General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli, during the 2019 Shell Nigeria briefing at the weekend in Port Harcourt, lamented that the nation had lost over $700 billion during the period of the shutdown.

He regretted that the funds could have been channelled to upgrading and building infrastructure like roads, schools, and electricity nationwide.

The spokesman blamed the development on sentiments of the people.

He said: " We chose to be emotional and because of that, Nigeria has lost $700 billion because the aggrieved community wanted their own to handle it.

"This sends a very bad signal to investors, and it will affect the oil industry if we do not handle it urgently.

"If other Kalabari, who operate oil wells in other places and states are asked to go and let the owners handle the facility, then it is going to be a very dangerous trend.

"This is like a Nollywood movie, but we need to resolve this and hopefully, it will be resolved in a way that it will not harm the industry."

Weli disclosed that several stakeholders' meetings had held sequel to the operation of the facility, expressing optimism that the squabble would be sorted out soon.

He stated that Shell had no plan of re-entering Ogoniland for oil exploration.

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