Bayelsa community shuts Shell’s drilling operation

Residents of Opukushi, Ekeremor LGA of Bayelsa state have shut down operations at an oilfield operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) in the area. According to NAN, the communities hosting SPDC’s EA fields halted the operation to protest alleged exclusion from contracts in the ongoing oil drilling.

Preye Simon, chairman of Opukushi Community Development Committee, said the action will draw the company’s attention to the people’s plight.

He claimed that rather than engaging the people in the ongoing activities at the field, SPDC and its servicing contractors neglected their social obligations to the communities.

According to him, the exclusion of the people from the drilling contracts violated the content guidelines of the community.

Reacting to the development, Bamidele Odugbesan, media relations manager of SPDC, said exploration activities had been grounded at the oilfield.

He explaìned that some residents invaded the oilfield in the early hours of Monday and forcibly shut down activities.

Odugbesan, however, noted that workers were unharmed during the invasion and shutdown of the oil rig working at the field.

He stated that the incident has been reported to the appropriate government agencies.

“A large number of men and women invaded a contractor-owned and operated rig working for the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited Joint Venture in Opukushi in Ekeremor LGA of Bayelsa state in the early hours of Monday,” Odugbesan said.

“The invaders forcibly shut down the facility and occupied the safe muster area. Nobody was hurt in the process and the incident was promptly reported to government authorities.”

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