Residents of Koluama in Bayelsa have vacated a crude production flow station operated by Conoil Production at Ango field shut down on March 8, after a dialogue with the oil firm.
The facility was shut over the refusal of the oil firm to renew a lapsed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which spelt out social obligations of the oil firm to its host communities.
The aggrieved members of the community had besieged the facility and told the oil workers to shut down and leave the site of the 30,000 barrels per day capacity flow station.
Mr Philip Emmanuel, the Youth President of Koluama 1, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Yenagoa that the members of the community who occupied the facility after it was shut had left the site.
He said that the action was sequel to a meeting held by representatives of Conoil, Koluama community and security agents.
“We left the facility after a meeting of our community leaders held in Yenagoa where the issue of the MoU was the sole topic; so discussing around a review has started although not much progress has been made.
“So, following the development our community leadership in an effort to show goodwill instructed us to come out of the facility and on Sunday we came down, the meeting has been adjourned to March 21.
“The position of the community is that the company has grown its production from 10,000 barrels per day to the current 30,000 barrels per day so they should review their development contributions to the community.
“We shall resist the use of security agents to intimidate our representatives and we insist that they are to restrict their functions and not take sides to coerce and shut out our people from expressing their grievances,” Emmanuel said.
Chief Young Fabby, a Community leader in the rural settlement along the Atlantic coast, also confirmed to NAN in a telephone interview that the facility has resumed production.
He said that the gas flare stack which indicates production status has been ignited and is burning off associated gas.
Mr Abiodun Azeez, the Media Relations Manager at Conoil, declined to respond to enquiries by NAN to comment on the ongoing dialogue with members of the oil firm’s host community.
Similarly, the oil firm is yet to react to inquiries by NAN via e-mail, short message services and telephone calls over the recent developments.
Mr Ibieri Jones, Bayelsa Commissioner for Mineral Resources also confirmed to NAN on a telephone that the Koluama Community has vacated the facility and oil production resumed.
“Yes we held a meeting with them on Saturday and they agreed to leave the facility, the women left that Saturday evening while the youths vacated the next day,” Jones said.