Ijaw Youths Angry over Delay in  $13Bn Zabazaba Deepwater Project

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By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), worldwide, yesterday said it was seriously concerned over the delay in the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Zabazaba Deepwater Project.

In a statement signed by the Spokesman of the organisation, Daniel Dasimaka, the group said IYC National President, Mr. Oweilaemi Pereotubo, was disturbed that the project might  go the way of the Brass LNG project which is currently comatose.

“We do not want the Zabazaba Deepwater 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 in general 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 IYC said.

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

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

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 deepwater 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.

The Zabazaba deepwater field, the IYC said, was 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 hang on the multi-billion dollar project which is expected to take many Niger Deltans off the streets.