ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Douye Diri, says his government is open to investment discussions on developing its oil field (OPL 240).
Diri made this known on Wednesday during a courtesy visit of the management of First Exploration and Production Company led by former Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, to Government House, Yenagoa.
The governor said the state government, which owns the operating licence for OPL 240, was still searching for the right investors to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as urging First Exploration and Production Company not to repeat same mistake as oil multinational companies in siting their office headquarters outside their operational base.
He said having its headquarters in the state would bring direct investment to the immediate environment, especially as an indigenous company.
He assured the management of the company that his government was willing to partner and provide a conducive environment for them to operate.
He said: “We have OPL 240, which has been on the table long before my government. It is still on the table and I’m sure you would have read about the Atala oil field and the purported revocation. We do not want OPL 240 to suffer similar fate.
“OPL 240 is owned by Bayelsa State government and we are looking for investors. You can take a look at it, liase with my officials and if you think it is worth it, we are ready to open it up. Anybody that gives us the best, we are ready to sign an MoU for the company to invest.
“I call on you to establish your headquarters here in Yenagoa. That way more of your people would be employed and you will pay most of your taxes in Bayelsa.
“We are ready to work with you. We will work with security agencies to ensure that there is peace where you operate.”
While commending the company for some of its intervention projects in its host communities, Diri called for synergy between it and the state government for optimal results.
He said the state government had decided to be witnesses to any GMoU entered into with communities, especially in the area of enterprise development.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of First Exploration and Production Company, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, said the company started operating offshore in the state last year but that it was established in 2011.
Ajumogobia said the visit was to introduce the company to the governor and the government of Bayelsa State as well as express the commitment towards improving the living standards of its host communities.
He highlighted some of the firm’s corporate social responsibilities to include education, health and enterprise development.