Oil communities give Heritage Energy ultimatum over marginalisation

Oil. PHOTO: Karen Bleier / AFP

The Forum of Communities Executives of flow stations has given the management of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited a 21- ultimatum to address employment, award of contracts and payment of 2016 GMOU funds or face its wrath.

The oil producing communities around the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30 are also seeking negotiation for a new general memorandum of understanding (GMOU) over the operations of the firm and an end to arbitrary arrest of the communities members, amongst others.

In a communiqué signed by seven presidents general of the flow station communities including Wilson Kokarhaye and Egho Francis, the community leaders highlighted areas where the oil company has been shortchanging them or paying deaf ears to the genuine needs of the oil producing communities in the block.

The communiqué addressed to the Managing Director of Heritage Energy Services, listed the communities’ grouse with the company to include failure to give sufficient employment slots to the indigenes of host communities despite having several qualified and experienced people.

They complained that even the few persons that were engaged by the company are not in the management staff cadre but rather, the company has chosen to engage many non-indigenes in direct disregard to the country’s Local Content Act.

“And to add insult to injury, the few employed persons from the communities are poorly paid, as they are placed on a salary schedule far lower than those recruited from outside with the same qualification, which a gross injustice,” they said.

The OML 30 communities, spread across Isoko and Urhobo ethnic nationalities of Delta State, also complained about the way and manner in which Heritage Energy Services was handling the award of contracts in the oilfields.The firm, they said, award contracts without recourse to the leadership of the communities nor give due consideration to indigenous contractors like it used to be during the days of SPDC and NPDC.

They, therefore, demand urgent reversal of the ugly trend in the interest of peace and cordial relationship between the company and the communities.“Another vexatious area of concern to the communities is the failure of Heritage Energy Services to pay the 2017 “Freedom to Operate” on the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of the flow stations, as well as the outstanding 2016 GMOU funds that the company inherited from NPDC.

“The people demand that these debts be paid quickly as the money is losing value by the day while the communities are starved of relevant social amenities and operation funds for administrative/exigencies in the various communities,” the communiqué reads in part.They, therefore, urged Heritage Energy to address the issues before the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum to ensure a peaceful and conducive operating environment.

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