Niger Delta has been considered unsafe for oil firms to return for operation without first tackling the current security challenges in the region.
Reacting to a series of calls for the return of oil companies to the region, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said peace and security must be restored first so that the firms can confidently return for operation.
Speaking at a special town hall meeting organised by the state government and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources with chiefs, youths and other stakeholders in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital on Monday, February 1, Sylva said his ministry is not against the oil companies moving back, but that the issue of insecurity must be addressed for their possible relocation.
According to him, asking oil companies to relocate to the Niger Delta at the moment without fixing the security concerns will only escalate Nigeria’s cost of crude oil production.
The former Bayelsa State governor expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to the development of Bayelsa and other states of the Niger Delta.
He said, “We look at it from the perspective of cost. It will be cheaper for oil companies to operate from here because it is nearer from the operating areas.
“The only concern is that we have a responsibility to bring peace and security because that is another source of cost. If you don’t have peace and security and the oil companies move back here, then you add to the cost of oil production.”
“They were here before. Shell was in Port Harcourt and Warri and most of other companies were here. They only ran away when insecurity took over the region. It is time to bring back peace and security so that those firms can return. On our part as the ministry, we are not against the oil companies moving back,” Sylva added.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, stated this while speaking at the Executive Roundtable on the Finance Act 2020 and Economic Outlook for 2021 organised by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Naija News reports.