Youths from Koluama communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government of Bayelsa have applauded the successful development of Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 83 and 85 to production start up.
The youths expressed hope that anticipated upsurge in project activities would create jobs for them as they have a pool of skilled youths in specialised oil and gas vocations.
A Nigerian firm First Exploration and Production (First E&P), has struck oil from an oilfield it acquired following the divestment of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) from the asset located off Bayelsa coastline.
Chevron had in 2015 divested from OMLs 83 and 85 while the asset was acquired by First E&P, an indigenous firm who now operate the oilfields in a Joint Venture agreement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Mr Leghemo Ebrasin, a youth leader in Koluama coastal settlement said in an interview that the feat by an indigenous operator indicated that the Nigerian Content policy was yielding results.
According to Ebrasin, the achievement by the indigenous oil firm, First E & P, on the erstwhile dormant oil block held by Chevron justifies the confidence reposed by the government on Nigerian oil firms.
He said that the youths from neighboring communities were poised to support the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the oil firm and its host communities in 2018.
He said that the youths have formed a cooperative society to drive youth empowerment schemes as well as developed a database of unemployed youths to enable matching of skills and job opportunities.
On the proposed 23 kilometer undersea pipeline, he urged the oil firm and its contractors to consider palliatives for local fishermen who will be displaced while the project goes on.
“We welcome the ongoing efforts to get a pipeline licence from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Although we are going to be affected by the project, we expect them to offer alternative income opportunities to us.
“The members of the fishing vocation would definitely be affected when the laying of the undersea pipeline starts so they should be assisted while our youths who are trained in underwater pipeline welding should be engaged to work.
“The successful development of these two oil blocks will unlock the economic potentials in Bayelsa coastline settlements and hopefully attract development of social amenities as well.
“Our Rural Development Foundation is well positioned to harness the opportunities that will be coming to us under the operational areas of employment quota and funds for community development projects,” Ebrasin said.