The Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has called on the federal government to prevail on the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to pay its outstanding debts to the Bayelsa State Government.
According to a Government House press statement, signed by Francis Ottah Agbo, the governor made the call recently at a meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and top officials of the firm.
The governor said the meeting with the minister was important, because he was in a strategic position to use his goodwill to persuade the multinational oil firm to pay statutory bills and levies, which the company stopped paying after making an initial payment several years ago.
The agenda of the meeting was the enforcement notice for the Gbaraun-Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas facility among others.
Governor Dickson noted that, the SPDC had acquired a property close to the size of Lagos Island in the state, without making the necessary payments to the relevant agencies of the government.
While stressing that, his government has created a conducive environment for investments to thrive, Governor Dickson reiterated his calls on multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to show more seriousness and commitment to the development of their host communities.
He said the call became imperative, because the oil/gas company has a key role to play in the development of Bayelsa State and the Ijaw nation.
In his response, the representative of the SPDC, Mr. Abubakar Ahmed, expressed the willingness of SPDC to engage more with the state government, in order to resolve the lingering dispute.
The minister advised the two parties to suspend all court cases relating to the matter and meet in two weeks to resolve the matter.
In a separate meeting with the Minister and top management staff of ENI/NAOC, also known as AGIP in Abuja, pointing out that, the meeting focused on investment opportunities in Bayelsa State, the Brass LNG project, the proposed 150,000 bpd Refinery and two 25 MW power plants being embarked upon by ENI/NAOC as well as the Bayelsa State Industrial Park.
He also called on the IOCs for support in some of his major projects, such as the Education Development Trust Fund and the Health Insurance Scheme.
The governor, who commended ENI/NAOC for their huge investments in the state, said the government was committed to providing the conducive environment for investments in the state.
In his remarks, the representative of the Managing Director of ENI/ NAOC, Marco Rotondi said, the company was making efforts to commence the construction of a150 bpd refinery in the state.
He also assured the governor that the oil firm would ensure the completion of two 25mws power plants, as part of its investment in the state by the end of 2018.
The governor was accompanied to the meetings by top government functionaries and the Amayanabo of Twon Brass, His Royal Majesty, Alfred Diete Spiff.