FG Inaugurates Project Committee for Development of Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre

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…As NCDMB Keeps Up With Its Developmental Projects Strides in Niger Delta Region

By Ikenna Omeje

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva on Tuesday, August 4, inaugurated the Project Committee for the development of the Oloibiri Museum and Research Center (OMRC) in Bayelsa State, where oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in 1956.

The Senate had in October 2019, asked the Federal Government to direct the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) to begin construction of the oil, gas and research centre.

The project, which was initiated by the former President Shehu Shagari, who laid the design and foundation stone in 1983 was, however, halted no sooner than it commenced.

For over 63 years after discovery, exploitation and production of crude oil, the Oloibiri oil field and its environs had suffered neglect and environmental degradation. To address the neglect of the community, the government decided to build the museum.

According to the Senate in October 2019, the  idea of the N35 billion project was mooted following the need to boost foreign exchange earnings for the country and improve living standards of the host communities.

This step taken by the Federal Government is commendable. And in line with the Federal Government commitment to the Niger Delta region, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has been keeping up with its developmental strides in the  region, in its efforts to address the challenges of infrastructure and social vices.

NCDMB has a model, which are divided into four broad areas for the development of the region. This model include funding, infrastructure development, CSR and human capital development.

On funding, the Board has put the Community Contractors Fund in place under the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund), which allows community contractors to access up to N20 million naira for contract execution in the oil and gas industry at five percent interest rate.

On infrastructure, the Board is developing the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGAPS), where it is setting up oil and gas parks in four strategic locations in the region for manufacturing equipment, components, and chemicals and for training youths. The shared service model adopted for the operation of the parks will reduce start–up and operating cost of occupants thereby enhancing their competitiveness and viability. Each park location is projected to create 10,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs during construction and operations phase.

The Board’s 17-storey headquarters building in Bayelsa State, is a source of pride to indigenes and residents of the region. The structure would utilise electricity generated from an independent power plant being developed by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

There is also  the gas metering and distribution facility which the Board is catalyzing in partnership with Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG) at Polaku, Bayelsa State. The plant will create over 30,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs from the several gas based industries that will set up along the gas corridor, including LPG cylinder manufacturing, CNG/LNG mother station distribution and power plant and pressure reduction facility. A provision for jetty has also been made in the complex for efficient logistics management.

The Board is also facilitating Research and Development through the incubation of Centers of Excellence for Deepwater operations, LNG operations and Refining & petrochemicals and has a Research commercialization model for supporting researchers convert research ideas to products that can be deployed for oil and gas industry operations.

On modular refineries, the Board is providing support for the establishment of modular refineries in the region, which is geared to induce local refining and value addition on crude oil and reduce refined products importation. The modular refinery initiative would also mitigate social vices like pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft and illegal refining while helping to create employment opportunities and jump start economic activities in the local communities.

NCDMB has invested equity in two modular refineries — the Waltersmith 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State, due for commissioning this year and the Azikel 12,000bpd hydro-skimming modular refinery in Bayelsa due for commissioning in 2021.

In human capital development and CSR interventions, which cover training for employment, training for empowerment, upgrade of technical colleges, health care, education, infrastructure and environment management, the Board is doing well. It gives scholarship to undergraduates annually through its essay competition.

The Federal Government, through its efforts to complete the Oloibiri national oil and gas museum; and NCDMB in particular, with its developmental strides in the region, have  both put up lasting measures that will help to address the challenges facing the region.

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