From Ameachi Prosper (The New Diplomat’s Delta Correspondent)
Bayelsa State Government has urged the Federal Government and oil companies to pay attention to oil producing states and communities through effective planning and implementation of sustainable and standard hydrocarbon policies to optimize oil and gas in the country.
The Deputy Governor of the state Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo made call on Wednesday while declaring open the technical session of the 5th National Council on Hydrocarbons at the Dappa Biriye Conference Centre in Yenagoa.
According to him, “The ministry of petroleum resources was created with a mandate to formulate policies, supervision, through implementation and to regulate the Nigeria oil and gas.
“Operators and stakeholders should ensure a total compliance with all applicable laws and regulation in the oil sector.
Lamenting the continued neglect of the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region, the deputy governor said, “Oloibiri is the cradle of oil wealth in Nigeria and the people in that area are in agony suffering from underdevelopment as oil producing areas in the country.
“Participants of this gathering must come up with a policy document that will help in correcting the mistakes of the past as well as maximize the gas value chain for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders.
“Policy makers, particularly at the federal level, to ensure that while the country benefits from gas exploration and exports, the host communities should not be left to continually suffer the brunt of gas flaring and other related activities.
“Clearly, we have not gotten as much as we expected from the exploration of crude oil. So, the thinking now is that, we have to go into gas. But going into gas, how ready are we? Have we learnt the lessons associated with the over 60 years of oil exploration and exploitation?”
“As you come here today for this academic gymnastics, we expect that at the end of the day, the policy document you will churn out will not only help us optimize the gas value chain but also ensure that all the mistakes that characterized our years of crude oil exploration do not come to bare”.
Earlier in his address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Bitrus Nabasu, disclosed that the country currently has a gas reserve of over 200 trillion cubic feet, which the federal government has started harnessing through its gas commercialization policy.
Represented by the Director, Planning Research and Statistics in the Ministry, Mr Musa Talle Sa’eed, said the theme of the meeting, “The Gas Potentials of Nigeria: Optimizing the Gas Value Chain,” will task participants to formulate ideas to promote better utilization of the massive gas resources in the country.”