CHINA is currently digging deep into Nigeria's marginal oil fields in Akwa Ibom State, Southern Nigeria. Already, they have struck a partnership deal with the state to explore marginal oil fields.
The Chinese oil firm, Sinopec, is a technical partner to Akwa Ibom in the stae's bid to harness their gas reserves for power generation.
Spurred by the Akwa Ibom-China deal, communities in Mbo Local Government Area of the state are now angling for an equitable sharing formula in their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Septa Energy Limited.
Universal Energy Resources, an indigenous oil exploration firm which won a marginal oil field from Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, an arm of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was recently acquired by Septa Energy.
Universal Energy Resources are the operators of Stubb Creek Marginal Oil field.
The Nigerian government had awarded unexplored marginal oil fields previously held by international oil companies to indigenous oil firms to promote Nigerian participation in the industry.
AkanimoReports gathered on Wednesday, that representatives of Mbo communities have expressed reservations in the sharing formula proposed in the MoU signed in June, between Universal Energy, Akwa Ibom government and host communities in Oron.
Mr Eteka Etim, a youth leader in Mbo said that the communities wanted an MoU with the new owners of the oil firm.
“We doubt the sincerity of Universal Energy because we are aware that Septa Energy has bought over the firm, why are they shielding Septa from their host communities?
“They should allow Septa to sign the MoU since they are the ones to operate here, they have since taken control of the operations and commenced the withdrawal of indigenous contractors from the field.
“Apiso Security owned by a community leader was the first casualty. This development has already thrown hundreds of youths that were working at the fields out of job and we cannot allow it to continue,” Eteka said
He added that Mbo representatives had walked out of a meeting over the sharing formula proposed in the draft MoU in March 2012, as it negated the spirit of equity and fairness.
Edidem Edet Essang, a Paramount Ruler in Mbo, said that the communities were eager to join other oil producing communities to enjoy the benefits of oil exploration and hence committed to prompt commencement of operations.
He said that the leadership of the communities were committed to a holistic development of the area and would close ranks to ensure fairness and justice.
''Hopefully they will make the necessary reviews to accommodate the interest of the communities that make up Mbo so that peace would reign and the project goes on, ours is to ensure a peaceful atmosphere and we remain committed to it'' Essang said.
In his reaction, an Executive Director of Universal Energy, Mr Nelson Mianaekere, explained that Universal Energy still has interests in the marginal field.
According to him, Septa Energy had invested into Universal but that does not mean a complete buy out as the management remained with Universal. ENDS