Surveillance contract guards with Seplat Petroleum Development Company yesterday embarked on a peaceful protest at the premises of the oil giant in Sapele, Delta State to protest over a number of issues raised by the surveillance contractors which are yet to be addressed by the oil giant.
According to some of protesting surveillance guards who spoke with EnergyDay, the company has extended by six months the surveillance contract ,but the grouse of the protesters bordered on the fact that the extension did not capture the new increment that the protesters were expecting.
They further averred that the company did not embark on any consultation prior to surveillance contract extension.
Addressing the protesters, a representative of the indigenous oil giant, Mr.U.A.Asonsare appealed to the protesters to remain calm, promising that the company is looking into their demands, blaming the delay on the company’s response to their demands on COVID-19.
He also stated that part of the challenge is poor communication between communities’ leaders and the surveillance guards, adding that a meeting has been slated for this week, where the Operations Director would engage all parties in constructive discussion to thrash out a lasting solution to the standoff between the company and the protesters, some of which concern the issue of thirteenth month arears, MOU on pipeline security among other demands.
The protesters were drawn from Ughoton, Ugbodo, Gbokodo, Orere, Mereche, Ituru, Ogirise and other communities.
Seplat has a history of crisis management with host communities in the Niger Delta.
Efforts to speak with the communication director of the company, Mrs.Chioma Nwachukwu proved abortive as her line was switched off and text message sent to her was not acknowledged.
Seplat Petroleum Development Company was established in 2009 after a merger of Austin Avuru’s Platform Petroleum Limited and A.B.C Orjiako’s Shebah Petroleum Development Company. Avuru became the MD, while Orjiako was the Board Chairman. Both men had been friends from their years of working for others and later running their individual businesses; they reached the decision to merge their companies to take advantage of the opportunities in the nation’s upstream sector.
The benefits they sought played out soon after the merger, when they got a major investment from Muarel & Prom, a French oil company. This investment ceded a 45% interest in the company to the French oil company, and gave Seplat an opening to more lucrative opportunities.
Seplat was appointed operator of three oil mining leases (OMLs), which include OML 4, OML 41 and OML 38.
With a strong reserve base and track record, Seplat had a consistent increase in its gross oil production and in April 2014, completed the dual listing on both the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
The $535 million raised in the initial public offering (IPO) ranked as the largest for a sub-Saharan Africa company since 2008 and the second-largest ever for a Nigerian company, further enabling the company to acquire additional blocks