Some residents of Opukushi, Ekeremor Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, have disrupted oil exploration at an oilfield operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in the area.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the communities hosting SPDC’s EA fields took the action to protest alleged exclusion from contracts in the ongoing oil drilling.
The Chairman of Opukushi Community Development Committee, Preye Simon, told NAN that the people took the action to draw attention to their plight.
He alleged that rather than engaging the people in the ongoing activities at the field, SPDC and its servicing contractors neglected their social obligations to the communities.
According to him, the exclusion of the people from the drilling contracts was in violation of the Community Content Guidelines.
Reacting to the development, Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations Manager, SPDC, confirmed that exploration activities have been grounded at the oilfield.
Mr Odugbesan, however, said that personnel of its contractors were safe and unharmed during the invasion and shutdown of the oil rig.
The media relations manager said the development had been reported to the appropriate government agencies.
“A large number of men and women invaded a contractor-owned and operated rig working for the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited Joint Venture in Opukushi in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in the early hours of Monday.
“The invaders forcibly shut down the facility and occupied the safe muster area. Nobody was hurt in the process and the incident was promptly reported to government authorities,” Mr Odugbesan stated.