Zik Gbemre

It is no longer news that Shell (SPDC) had divested all its onshore oil, gas and condensate assets/interests in Delta State, some of which include OML 34, OML 30, OML 38, OML 41, OML 26, 42, etc. And the Federal Government through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had directed NNPC subsidiary – the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to take over these divested interests as operating partners, which they have done and had started full operations since January 2013.

While we are in full support of NPDC’s takeover of these divested oil, gas and condensate assets/interests in Delta State, which they have proven to have what it takes to adequately manage and supervise these operations, however, we consider it inappropriate and completely out of place that NPDC is currently still operating/managing the said divested oil, gas and condensate assets/interests in Delta State, from their Benin Head Office (Edo State). What is even more disturbing is the fact that the Federal Government is presently building another gigantic structure/edifice in Benin for NPDC to use as their main Head Office. Let us reiterate the fact that since the said Shell (SPDC) divestment, all the oil companies and oil service providers in and around Warri and environs are migrating to Benin; thereby making Warri and environs ghost towns with less and less business activities.

Despite the fact that Shell (SPDC) had left in the custody of NPDC, over 1000 (One thousand) Houses/Office Complexes and Residential Buildings/Houses in Warri, which Shell (SPDC) had vacated, plus Jetties, Warehouses, Helipads/Heliports and over Six (6) Gas-powered Power Turbine Stations, NPDC still does not consider it expedient to relocate from their Benin Office to Warri, Delta State. There is also a Training School in Warri called SITP1 (Special Intensive Training Programme 1), which is the best training school on oil, gas and condensate in Africa. And Shell (SPDC) was operating and running these assets (including the training school) in Warri before its exit from Delta State. Consequent upon the divestments, NPDC inherited all the Houses/Buildings both offices and residences from Shell (SPDC) in Warri. But today all these office complexes and residential buildings/Houses are empty, and are being overgrown with weeds/grasses, as NPDC has not come to take over/occupy what they have inherited from Shell (SPDC) from the divestment. This means they will have to spend serious money to maintain the structure and premises of these Office Buildings/Complexes and Residential areas when it is time to use them. At the moment, NPDC has begun to Lease most of the said Office Complexes and Residential Buildings they inherited from Shell (SPDC). This to us is an abnormality of the highest order and a shame that needs to be reversed.



Among the oil and gas fields sold/divested by Shell (SPDC) and now operated by SEPLAT but under the supervision of NPDC, include: OML 38 which covers Amukpe, Ovhor and Okporhuru Fields and additional underdeveloped Fields and unappraised Fields all in Delta State. Others are OML 41 which covers Sapele and two discoveries; OML 40 covers Opuama in Delta State. While OML 42 covers Batan, Egwa, Odidi, Jones Creek Fields in Delta State; OML 26 covers Ogini, Isoko Fields in Delta State; OML 34 covers Utorogu, Ughelli West, Ughelli East Fields of Delta StateOML 34, specifically Utorogu, is the area where we have the ongoing Utorogu NAG-2 (aka New Utorogu Gas Plant) Project and the old Utorogu Gas Plant (Utorogu NAG-1). For OML 30, it covers some parts of Eruemukohwarien and Effurun-Otor,  Evwreni, Kokori, Eriemu, Afieseri, Osioka, Ughelli Pump Station (UPS) and Olomoro/Oleh in Delta State. Though OML 38 and OML 41 in Delta State are operated by SEPLAT, they are still being regulated and supervised by NPDC as the senior government operators.

The largest natural gas reserve and condensate reserve in West Africa is in Utorogu, Delta State. In fact,  Utorogu Gas Plant is described by Shell (SPDC) as the “gas hub of West Africa”. Utorogu is the life wire of Nigerian Power Stations and domestic industries. Utorogu is also where gas is supplied to neighboring West African countries through the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project (WAGPP) and others.

Out of these oil and gas assets sold/divested by Shell (SPDC), it is only Oben Field, known as OML 4 (and <strong