Ijaw Youths Express Anger over Delay in $13bn Zabazaba Deep Water Project

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Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide thursday said it was seriously concerned over the delay in the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Zabazaba Deep water project.

In a statement signed by the spokesman of the organisation, Daniel Dasimaka, the group said IYC National President, Oweilaemi Pereotubo, was disturbed that the project might end the way of the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project.

According to the statement, “We do not want the Zabazaba Deep water project to go the way of the Brass LNG which never saw the light of the day. We want jobs for our youths. We want the local economy of the Niger Delta region as well as the national economy to grow.

“We condemn the unnecessary delay in the signing of the FID for the Zabazaba oilfield. The 2020 first production date of the Zabazaba oilfield may be compromised if the FID remains unsigned.”

The $13.5 billion Zabazaba oilfield is located in the Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245 offshore in the Niger Delta of the Gulf of Guinea in Nigeria.

It was also gathered that Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited (NAE) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) are jointly developing the project.

The IYC said the project would be a major boost to the country’s economy and the local content initiative being promoted and prioritised by the present government.

It noted that the deep water project would support small and medium enterprises in Nigeria following the decision by the developers for in-country fabrication and integration of the topsides of the Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels.

IYC said the Zabazaba deep water field is estimated to hold 560 million barrels of oil equivalent (MBOE), which will increase the country’s daily crude oil production.

According to the group, when it becomes fully operational, the project is expected to generate at least $8 billion for Nigeria.

“The impact on the Nigerian economy would be unprecedented, and the multiplier effect on the local economies of the catchment areas in the Niger Delta will be huge,” the group added.

Agip and Shell acquired OPL 245, which was named the Zabazaba field in 2012 for $1.3 billion. The acquisition has been the subject of serial corruption investigations and prosecutions in Italy and Nigeria.

The IYC noted that the project must not be allowed to die, noting that the fate of many youths in the region hangs on the multi-billion dollar project which is expected to take many Niger Deltans off the streets.