Factional Host Communities of OML 30 Seek Dialogue with Heritage Energy

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Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Some host communities of OML30 have opted for dialogue with Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOLS) over lingering disputes on the implementations of General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) signed with the oil company in Delta State.

The 112 communities, which are host to eight flow stations in the area in the state, said they preferred engaging HEOLS as against the position of Cluster Management Committee/Presidents General to shut down all oil explorations in the flow stations.

The flow stations located in Ughelli, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, produces not less than 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Cluster Management Committee (CMC) and Communities’ Representatives Committee (CRC) in the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30 maintained that they preferred dialogue in resolving issues as opposed to the position of the Cluster Management Committee/Presidents General to shut down operations of the oil company.

The Cluster Management Committee/Presidents General of the host communities had in a statement signed by Dr. Patrick Oboghor and Mr. Joseph Ibuje, requested for the total disengagement of HEOLS from the oil blocks over consistent failure to meet its obligations to the host communities.

But while reacting to the position considered as extreme, CMC and CRC, in a statement yesterday signed by Mr. Okpako Godwin Onome, Clement Udi and eight others, maintained that those calling for the company to leave had run afoul of the GMoU signed in the presence of the state government that every dispute must be through dialogues.

“As community leaders and cluster chairmen/secretaries in OML 30, we would ordinarily not respond to such publications, but when issues involved affect our communities, we believe our consent should be sought before such statement affecting us is made.

“We as leaders and cluster chairmen/secretaries in OML 30 are bound by the GMoU signed by us and the company and witnessed by the Delta State Government, and will, therefore, not be a party to blanket statements without consultations and following due process as enunciated in the dispute resolution procedures of the GMoU,” they said.

The CMC and CRC said though they were not defending the company and its failures, rather, they are advocating that they follow the dispute resolution procedures as explicitly stated in article 16.1, 16.6 and 16.7 of the GMoU that no party should resort to violence and self-help.

“The statement and publication directly breaches Article 16.7 as the call to disengage definitely calls for disruption of business operations, and we will not be party to actions that breach the GMoU and affect the oil production in our oilfields.

“We, therefore, completely dissociate our clusters and communities from this illegality, and call on authors to consult widely so that we can put in motion dispute resolution process. Until this is exhausted, we will not be party to requesting the company to leave if it falls within our purview,” they stated.