The Shell Petroleum Development Company, operator of the SPDC joint venture, has unveiled eight Host Community Development Trusts in Bayelsa State, according to a statement yesterday by SPDC, Media Relations Manager, Abim- bola Essien-Nelson. She stated that the development is a critical step for unlocking the $56 million earmarked for development in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021. She explained that the $56.13 million represents funds to be paid in 2023 by SPDC JV and Shell’s deep-water subsidiary, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) as a contribution to HCDTs.
SPDC Managing Director and Chairman, Shell companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, according to the statement, in an address read by the General Manager Corporate Relations, Igo Weli, said the PIA would not deliver the intended development if “communities allow internal strife and chieftaincy struggles to negatively impact the setting up of or operations of the Trusts.” He said: “Regardless of the noble intentions of the PIA as well as the moral and financial support of the government, SPDC and other operators, the development of communities ultimately rests on the shoulders of community people themselves.”
Essien-Nelson quoted the Bayelsa Governor, Du- oye Diri, represented by the state’s Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Dr Ibieri Jones, as having said during the unveiling ceremony in Yenagoa that the development is a bold step in the implementation of the provisions of the PIA earned a commendation from the Bayelsa State Government, regulators, partners as well as communities for what is regarded as an industry milestone. “The eight Trusts are among 22 that have been incorporated in SPDC JV’s areas of operation in Imo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states, representing more than half of the total 41 which the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has so far approved for host communities.
“This is indeed a mile- stone which will ensure the progress of the communities. No meaningful development can take place without an enabling environment. With dialogue, we can always resolve issues and that is the only way it will take the region to where we want it to be,” Governor Diri said. The Chief Executive of NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, represented by Manager, Host Communities Development in NUPRC, Omolade Awah, according to the statement, commended the early in- corporation of the Trusts and charged them to be guided by the provisions of the PIA in their operations.