President Buhari, and Mister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, today met with a visiting Shell team, Shell Global Upstream, at the State House. The team was led by the Shell Global Upstream Director, Mr. Andrew Brown.
The visit comes after the Niger Delta Avengers claimed responsibility for an attack on a Shell oil pipeline which was forced to close down the 250,000 barrel-a-day Forcados export terminal. Mr. Brown had appealed for an urgent solution to rising violence and militancy in the Niger Delta.
The resurgence of agitations in the region have hampered operations for oil companies in the region. Shell recently evacuated its workers at Nigeria’s Bonga oil field in the southern Niger Delta following a threat from Niger Delta militants.
Notwithstanding, the Shell Executive dispelled speculations that the company was pulling out of Nigeria. Contrary to such speculations, Shell was in dialogue with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on new joint oil and gas projects.
President Buhari assured the Shell Team operating in the Niger Delta that the Federal Government will continue to take all necessary actions to protect strategic assets in the region from vandals and criminals. The President told Mr. Brown that the operations of the Joint Task Force were also being enhanced with increased support and cooperation from the United States and Europe in the areas of training, intelligence, equipment and logistics.
“We have to be very serious with the situation in the Niger Delta because it threatens the national economy. I assure you that everything possible will be done to protect personnel and oil assets in the region.”
He however, urged the company to end gas flaring in the Niger Delta as soon as possible and produce more gas for electricity generation to support manufacturing and job creation in the country.
After praising the resilience of Shell in Nigeria despite the operational challenges of the environment, he urged militants in the Niger Delta to work with his government to review the Amnesty Programme initiated by the Late ex-President Umaru Yar’Adua Administration.