Oil was first discovered in Nigeria by Shell in Oloibiri sixty-four years ago. The discovery in the area led to efforts in exploring the potential of crude oil and gas in Nigeria.
The project was launched in a virtual event and committees were inaugurated on Tuesday, August 4th 2020 by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Nigeria, Timipre Sylva.
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Shell Petroleum and Development Company and the Bayelsa State Government are the institutions funding and monitoring the project.
After the launch today, the partners will contribute the take-off funds, conduct design competition, conduct feasibility studies, establish the project cost, take a final investment decision and begin construction. The pre-construction is expected to last for 8 months with the actual construction to last for 36 months.
Two committees and five project teams have been created to supervise the project. The committees are:
- The Steering Committee: Responsible for the provision of leadership and steer, and
- The Coordinating Committee: Responsible for providing oversight on activities of all the project teams.
The Project teams are:
- Funds Mobilisation and Management
- Community Relation
- Health, Safety and Environment, and
- A Secretariat. The secretariat which will be set up and operated in the Head office of NCDMB in Yenegoa, Bayelsa state capital.
Speaking during the project launch, the Minister said the project is to preserve the heritage and developments in the oil sector as it is been done in other oil-producing nations around the world.
He noted the project has been lingering for about 30 years and thanked the President for granting his approval amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the commencement of the project.
He believes that the project will close a huge gap in Nigeria’s homegrown technology inputs that is required to service Exploration and production activities in the oil and gas industry. He said the project will be a product of public-private partnership, inter-agency collaboration and inter-governmental alignment.
He added the committees and project teams are to ensure the timely delivery of the project with reporting lines, key performance indicators and a quality resource team.
In the words of the Minister, “Mr President approved the establishment of the Oloibiri Museum and Research Center (OMRC) as part of his signature programs that would leave behind enduring legacies and impact the Oil and Gas Community, the people of the Niger Delta, and indeed the country.”
“It consists of the construction of a Museum where historic developments, data, equipment, and tools used in the Nigerian oil and gas industry will be stored for posterity and the construction of a functional Research Center where prototypes can be tested and validated in fulfilment of the requirement for approval of new technologies.”
Commenting on the project, the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engineer Simbi Wabote said PTDF will bear 40% of the project cost, NCDMB will bear 30%, Shell will bear 20% and the Bayelsa State government will bear 10% of the entire project cost.
The Engineer said the benefits of the project include creating a hub for oil and gas artefacts, attracting petro-tourism, retaining history and disseminating knowledge, bringing socio-economic development to Oloibiri and a lot more.
Also commenting on the project was the Managing Director of Shell Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor who acknowledges Shell in Nigeria and Oloibiri share history together. He noted there have been two failed attempts to launch this same project in the past. He said, listening to the very well thought out details and framework, it gives us quite some confidence that this time all the ingredients are there to get it right and I pledge the support of the SPDC JV to this effort.”
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, also assured everyone of the state’s readiness to support the project with the necessary tools to ensure the success of the project.