May 26, 2022

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Activist Tasks Bayelsa Assembly Over Planned Sale Oil Company

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A renowned social and environmental activist, Mr. Morris Alagoa has called on members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly to intervene, deliberate and take a drastic decision on the planned sales of the Bayelsa State Oil Company Limited (BOCL) by the state government.

Alagoa, in a telephone interview with our correspondent urged the state government to jettison the idea of selling the said oil field at the twilight of her exit, advising the present government to leave discussions concerning BOCL for the next administration.

It was learnt that the state government is proposing to sell 41 percent out of the BOCL’s 51 percent participating interest in the Atala marginal Oil Field together with its operatorship to Halkin Global Investment Limited.

The activist said “out of 41 percent, you are selling 51, what is remaining? 10 per cent. That is why we are calling on the state assembly to come into the matter.

“They are the people representing the various constituencies in the state. They need to hear about it and make approval or if possible, organize a public hearing on the issue. How can they sell an oil company belonging to the state, it is just unfortunate.”

When contacted for comments on the issue, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Fidelis Soriwe said his boss should be left out of the matter, stating that TNN should rather seek the reaction of the Managing Director of the BOCL.

Before now, the Special Adviser to the governor on Public Affairs, Mr Daniel Alabrah had said in a post on his Facebook timeline that the managing director of the oil firm was going to address the world on the matter.

Till date, the MD has not done so. But Alabrah who had given what he called a personal opinion on the matter had said “what has been proposed, subject to the approval of the Federal Government, is the sale of some percentage of its shares to keep the company afloat.

“The fact is that the BOCL marginal field that was being serviced by Century Exploration and Production Limited (CEPL) has not been productive and the company would require between $50m and $100m to make the field viable. Getting investors has been very difficult as it is a high-end investment.

“Already, Century Energy is said to have incurred a huge debt to keep the field afloat otherwise the federal government would take it over like it recently did to six oil blocs that were not producing. With CEPL now indicating interest to quit the partnership due to some unresolved issues, the BOCL is left with no choice than to look for another partner if it is serious about exploring that field. This is the pre-emptive move that is even yet to be approved that is being speculated as an attempt to sell the company.

“In any case, this is not an official statement. I thought I should bring some clarity to the matter after speaking with the MD while we await the statement from the company.”

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