By Chineme Okafor
Disagreements over alleged contractual irregularities between communities in the Niger Delta and Italian oil contracting firm, Saipem, may result in the disruption of crude oil flow at three flow stations located at Beniseide, Tunu and Ogbotobo, THISDAY has learnt.
The development, the paper gathered on Tuesday, could also disrupt operations in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry following a call on the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) by the communities to stop contracting Saipem to handle its oil and gas projects within their areas.
The communities which said that they do not want the Saipem Consortium to henceforth operate within their areas, alleged that Saipem had perpetrated contractual illegalities and fraudulent practices in its dealings with them while undertaking its contract on three gas plant projects technically referred to as SSAGS+, on behalf of SPDC.
They said that they host the Beniseide, Tunu and Ogbotobo Flow Stations and would disrupt production flows if their grievances are not addressed by SPDC which they have asked to disengage Saipem from the project site.
The spokesman of the communities, Pere-ebibo Cinema Fufeyin told reporters in Abuja that youths of the various communities were already mobilising to protest to the Embassies of the United Kingdom and Italy in Abuja, against the continued presence of Saipem in their area.
Fufeyin said that the communities were contesting alleged contractual illegalities and fraudulent practices by the Saipem in its dealings with them.
He specifically said that despite several complaints by the communities over the flagrant disregard and subversion of agreements guiding its operations in their area including Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) and Freedom to Operate (FTOs), Saipem had allegedly continued to front one Kenneth Oboku who takes up all the sub-contracts meant for the host communities.
According to him, Saipem had also ignited several intra-communal crises in all communities where it operated. Such crisis he explained had occasionally led to violent clashes.
“Prior to the commencement of the project, an agreement was reached, officially documented and signed by representatives of the various communities, SPDC and Saipem Consortium.