Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has expressed serious concerns about the delay in the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Zabazaba Deepwater Project.
The $13.5 billion Zabazaba oilfield is located in the Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245 offshore Nigeria in the Niger Delta of the Gulf of Guinea. Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited (NAE) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) are jointly developing the project.
Nigeria Agip Exploration is the operator of the project.
The IYC which expressed its displeasure in a statement signed by the spokesman Daniel Dasimaka said the delay of the takeoff of the project is detrimental to the economy of the Niger Delta region.
According to him, the Niger Delta region do not want the Zabazaba project to go the way of the Brass LNG.
“We do not want the Zabazaba Deepeater Project to go the way of the Brass LNG which never saw the light of the day. We want jobs for our youths.
“We want the local economy of the Niger Delta region as well as the national economy in general to grow.
“We want development in the Niger Delta region. We want peace. Hence, we condemn the unnecessary delay in the signing of the FID for the Zabazaba oilfield,” he said.
Dasimeka said the IYC is deeply worried that the 2020 first production date of the Zabazaba oilfield may be compromised if the FID remains unsigned.
The IYC which explained that the project will be a major boost to the country’s economy and the local content initiative being promoted and prioritised by the present government added the deepwater project will support small and medium enterprises in Nigeria following the decision by the developers for in-country fabrication and integration of the topsides of the Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels.
According to it the Zabazaba deepwater field is estimated to hold 560 million barrels of oil equivalent (MBOE) which will increase the country’s daily crude oil production.
It disclosed that when it becomes fully operational, the project is expected to generate at least $8 Billion for Nigeria stressing, “the impact on the Nigerian economy would be unprecedented, and the multiplier effect on the local economies of the catchment areas in the Niger Delta will be huge”.
Recall that Agip and Shell acquired OPL 245, which was named the Zabazaba field, in 2012 for $1.3 billion.
The acquisition has been the subject of alleged serial corruption investigations and prosecutions in Italy and Nigeria. But Agip and Shell have consistently maintained their innocence.