Transparency Crucial To Oil, Gas Sector ¬ -Uduaghan

SEEPCO Plans To Invest $3Bn In Delta
BY ANDREW IKEHI/IFEYINWA AWULOR
DELTA State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, yesterday underscored the importance of accountability and transparency in the oil and gas sub-section for the improved economic development of the country, particularly, Delta State.
The state governor who spoke through the State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Chief Kenneth Okpara made the assertion while declaring open a one-day sensitization forum titled Citizen Dialogue on NEITI audit Report, 1999-2008, organized by Publish What You Pay Nigeria, held in Asaba.
Dr Uduaghan, while lauding the initiative of Publish What You Pay Nigeria for the programme pledged the state government’s readiness to partner with the group just as he noted that the state government is prepared to support the implementation of NEITI in the state.
He particularly commended the resilience and determinations of the National Co-ordinator of publish what you pay Nigeria, Faith Nwadishi, saying “we are proud we have Deltans who can prove their onions anytime and anywhere.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Victor Ochie, represented by Barrister Sam Chukwudi, assured the group that Delta State House of Assembly would look at the possibilities of domesticating NEITI Act in the state.
Earlier in her address, the National Coordinator, Publish what you pay Nigeria, Faith Nwadishi called on Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and the State Legislature to begin the process of domesticating the NEITI Act 2007 in the state in order to help in maximizing the benefits of the EI sector for the people as well as improve the investment climate in managing the resources from the non-renewable resources in line with the state government’s desire for a better and developed Delta State beyond oil.
Soliciting support for the organization, Publish what you pay Nigeria, Nwadishi asserted “if transparency and accountability must work on the extractive industry, we should take the crusade beyond the media outfits, to our communities, families, clubs, churches and mosques, among others.In another development, the State Government says, Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company (SEEPCO) has indicated interest to invest three billion dollars in the state.
The State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mr. Omamofe Pirah who disclosed this yesterday, during a ministerial press briefing of his ministry, held at the State Ministry of Information, stated that the partnership would aid the company in diversifying its operation into LPG development, just as he assured that plans are on top gear by the state government to secure a parcel of land for their take-off.
While urging Deltans to partner with investors and to have shares in oil blocs set out for bid, the Commissioner said that as part of his achievements so far, the Ministry has located the headquarters of 22 oil companies operating in the state with the view of convincing them to relocate their headquarters to Delta in order to beef up employment opportunities for youths in the state.
Decrying the activities of oil companies in the State which he opined has led to froist relationships with their host communities; Mr Pirah seeks state enabling laws in the oil and gas sector to sanction erring oil companies in the state and beyond. “Without running the risk of contradiction, may I add that some of the oil companies are not sincere in their dealings with their host communities. Some oil companies adopt divide and rule system in their host communities to cause disaffection”. He opined.
Pirah who was joined at the briefing by his Information counterparts in the Ministries of Information, Chike Ogeah (ESQ), Environment, Frank Omare, Special Duties (Project Monitory), Mr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, said his Ministry is irrevocably committed to ensuring State Government’s improved participation in the oil and gas industry with a view to increasing the creation of wealth, entrepreneurship and jobs for the teaming Deltans.