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Oil production to begin In Ogoni by October despite delayed Clean-up

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By — The Guardian
 

Amid resistance, crude oil production will commence in Ogoni area of OML 11, as the Presidency recently directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to takeover operations from Shell.
The Ogoni re-entry plan, which the Movement of the Survival of the Ogoni Peoples, activists and elders vowed to resist, will be funded from the proposed 2019 NNPC, Shell, Agip and Total joint venture budget.
An NPDC Ogoni re-entry execution plan and first cost summary obtained by The Guardian revealed that the Federal Government and its joint venture partners intend to commence crude oil and gas production in Korokoro in Ogoni area of OML 11 by October, if the proposed contracting and procurement plan that has commenced are fast tracked.
From Korokoro, the NPDC and its joint partners will then proceed to other communities such as Yorla, Ebubu, Bodo and Bomu, among others.The Ogoni fields were producing an average of 130,000 barrels of crude oil per day as at May 1993, when community resistance, led by MOSOP forced Shell and its joint partners to quit the area. Ogoni fields are estimated to have proven reserve of over two billion stock tank barrels.
NPDC has identified Bomu with 52 oil wells, Ebubu (17 wells), Tai (13 wells), Yorla (14 wells), Bodo West (12 wells) and Korokoro (10 wells) as major fields of interest.
In the strategic plan, the 15-page document revealed that Ogoni-re-entry will proceed in a field-by-field manner, and the field with the most receptive community will be re-entered first, as incentive to other communities to accept the re-entry proposals.
Part of the palliatives planned by NPDC to gain acceptability is the construction of community access roads and well, as well as facilities access roads. Other measures are provision of security booths, fencing, surveillance and grass cutting contracts, which will be ceded to community contractors.
The NPDC said due to security challenges in the Niger Delta, the mobilisation for the re-entry will be holistic, as it intends to engage the community through the Federal Government, with assurance that crude oil production will be carried out in a responsible manner.
Ogoni elders, under the aegis of the Gbo Kaabari Ogoni, had petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to halt planned resumption of crude oil and gas production in Ogoni without due consultation in order to avert bloodbath in the area.
Gbo Kaabari Ogoni chairman and secretary, Senator Bennett Birabi and Dr. Desmond Nbete said government must bear in mind that oil activities in Ogoni and OML 11 have a unique history that cannot be wished away by an executive fiat for a restart of oil production and production activities, without duly engaging the people in a proper and painstaking conversation.

They said: “Production activities in OML 11 stopped about 29 years ago, and in line with industries practices, such fields like OML 11 ought to be treated as green fields and not brown fields. It is thus not acceptable to summarily commission an early production facility to start oil production, without necessary procedures and approvals for a green field development.”

The group accused NPDC of acting contrary to the Department of Petroleum Resources guidelines, by not carrying an environmental impact assessment requirement for oil and gas field development.

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Ten rebels killed in offensive in east DR Congo — Army

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Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers. Photo: AFP

The Congolese army forces on Sunday killed 10 rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the troubled east of the country, a spokesman said.

The offensive kicked off last Thursday in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, with army and police officers assigned to replace civilian authorities under a 30-day “state of siege”.

In a clash in Halungupa, in the Rwenzori area, “our troops got the better of the ADF enemy. We in fact saw 10 dead bodies of ADF elements,” Antony Mualushayi, an army spokesman in the North Kivu city of Beni, told AFP.

The death toll is provisional, he added.

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“We are determined to finish with the ADF once and for all,” he said. “This siege should give the people of the Beni region the chance to live in a place where peace rules.”

A spokesman for a monitor called the Kivu Security Tracker (KST) said however that it had counted “only five bodies so far.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of Ugandan officers arrived in Beni on Sunday, according to an AFP reporter, while the army and government authorities declined to comment on the visit.

The ADF, a group of Ugandan Islamist fighters, has been based in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since 1995.

Branded a “terrorist” organization affiliated with the Islamic State group by the United States, the ADF has been accused of murdering more than 1,000 civilians since November 2019 in Beni alone.

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It is by far the most dangerous of scores of armed groups that operate in the east of DR Congo.

Mineral-rich North and South-Kivu which lie along the DRC’s eastern borders with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, descended into violence during the country’s two wars between 1996 and 2003, and have never regained stability.

Ituri, further to the north, has also been rocked by violence since late 2017 after 15 years of relative calm.

Under the DRC’s constitution, the president can declare a state of either siege or emergency “if severe circumstances immediately threaten the independence or integrity of the national territory, or if they interrupt the regular functioning of institutions”.

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South Sudan president dissolves parliament in line with peace deal

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South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has dissolved parliament, a long-awaited step to pave the way for the appointment of lawmakers from formerly warring parties in the country.

The move was in line with a peace deal signed to end a civil war that began in 2013.

The president dissolved parliament on Saturday and the new body will be formed in “a matter of time, not too long”, his spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told Reuters.

According to the deal that ended the civil war, parliament must be expanded from 400 members to 550 and must include members from all parties to the peace accord.

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South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of civil war. Violence erupted in late 2013 after Kiir, from the Dinka ethnic group, sacked vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer.

The two men have signed many deals to end a war estimated to have killed more than 400,000 people. They repeatedly pushed back deadlines to form a government of national unity, but in 2020 finally did so.

Despite the peace deal, violence is still raging in parts of the country, according to United Nations reports.

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Chad rebels ‘fleeing’, says defence minister

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Rebels who launched an offensive in northern Chad, sparking clashes that claimed the life of veteran president Idriss Deby Itno, are in flight, the country’s new defence minister said on Thursday.

“The security forces are thoroughly sweeping the operational area. Most of the prisoners are in the hands of the gendarmerie (police) and are being well-treated. The enemy is fleeing,” Defence Minister Brahim Daoud Yaya told a news conference.

“We are never going to dialogue with terrorists.”

He was speaking after the first meeting of a transitional government appointed by a 14-member military junta, the Transitional Military Council (TMC), that took office after Deby’s death on April 19.

Opposition supporters, meanwhile, called for fresh anti-junta protests on Saturday.

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Demonstrations on April 29 that were violently repressed by the authorities claimed six lives, according to the authorities, and nine according to a local grass-roots organisation, while more than 600 people were arrested.

The Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), a large armed group with a rear base in Libya, mounted an offensive on April 11 as the country was to hold presidential elections.

Deby, a former general who had been in power for 30 years, led the fighting against the insurgents.

According to the authorities, he died from combat injuries in the Kanem desert region, about 300 kilometres (200 miles) north of the capital N’Djamena, close to the border with Niger.

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“Libya is the terrorists’ stronghold,” the minister said.

He added, however: “I cannot accuse Libya of supporting the terrorists, as there is no state in Libya.”

Deby’s death occurred on the same day that he was declared victor in the presidential results and that the army claimed to have killed 300 FACT rebels, according to official announcements.

Another 246 rebels have been captured and handed over to the judicial authorities, according to the authorities.

Fighting has been continuing in the area of Nokou, in the administrative region of North Kanem.

Last week, a Chadian military helicopter crashed there after what the army said was a breakdown, while FACT said it had downed the aircraft.

A junta took power immediately after Deby’s shock death, headed by his 37-year-old son Mahamat, a four-star general, and parliament was suspended.

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The military rulers have vowed to hold “free and democratic” elections following an 18-month transition period.

On Sunday, the junta unveiled a 40-member transitional government, the key posts of which have gone to members of the former president’s MPS party.

According to a report on Thursday’s first ministerial meeting, a copy of which was seen by AFP, Deby “instructed the government to urgently strengthen communal living, which has been seriously tested, to consolidate peace, ensure security and guarantee security.”

He also called for the holding of an “inclusive national dialogue.”

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