Anambra Oil: SEEPCO Gets Six Months Deadline To Conduct EIA On OML143 Fields

Sterling Oil Exploration & Energy Production Company Limited (SEEPCO), the company exploring petroleum products in OML 143 Oil Field in two communities in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria has six months to conduct and conclude Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on its activities in Ameshi and Enyie fields.

Specifically, the exercise (Dry and Wet Season data gathering) must be conducted between December 2020 and May 2021 while the company is mandated to make full disclosure of the status of the Amesti and Enyie oil fields at the end of the activities.

There had been an outcry by people of Ogwuikpele and Oguaniocha communities in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State where the oil company operates, over the negative impact of its drilling activities on their environment and livelihood.

At a stakeholders’ meeting held on Friday, November 6, Willie Obiano, Governor of Anambra State said the company was engaging in authorised exploration which was destroying the environment and breeding militancy.

Obiano urged the Nigerian Government to call the company to order.

The communiqué issued at the end of the stakeholders’ meeting also resolved that the “Stop Work Order” earlier slammed on SEEPCO by the Federal Ministry of Environment be fully lifted in view of the economic loss accruing from the suspension of the proposed project.

The communiqué was signed by representatives of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief of Defence Staff, Anambra State Government, SEEPCO, Federal Ministry of Environment (FME) and Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

It said there should be increased mutual co-existence and continuous consultations between the Anambra State Government and SEEPCO throughout the life span of the project.

Oil pipes in Ogbaru
Oil pipes in Ogbaru

“The Anambra Government shall support SEEPCO in development of an MoU between the host communities of Amesi and Enyie Fields (OML143) while the company should create an enabling environment for smooth implementation and sustainability of the proposed project,” part of the communique read.

“SEEPCO shall implement the outcomes of the EIA process and adequate mitigation measures for the environment, health, safety and social impacts that may have resulted from the project.”

The company is asked to ensure full and timely compensations of the Project Affected Persons and Communities as identified in the EIA process and give priority lo Corporate Social Responsibility programme/projects for the project affected communities with the facilitation of the Anambra State Government.

According to the outcome of the meeting, “SEEPCO should also ensure prompt payment of all the taxes and levies due to the State Government as prescribed by Anambra State Board of Internal Revenue as applicable to the company’s operations”.

The stakeholders resolved that the DPR should ensure prompt collection of royalties, taxes and levies to the Federation Account in line with applicable laws with regards to the commencement of oil production activities in Ameshi and Enyie Fields.

Oil rig in Ogbaru
Oil rig in Ogbaru

The communiqué recalled that Federal Ministry of Environment received a petition in February 2020 from the Office of the Governor of Anambra State on the alleged oil drilling activities by SEEPCO at Ogwu-lkpele and Ogwu-Aniocha communities in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State, without an EIA Approval.

It said the petition expressed displeasure on the company’s disregard to the Minister of Environment’s earlier directives to dialogue with Anambra State Government, embark on stakeholders’ consultation with affected communities and fast-track the EIA process to its logical conclusion.

“The proposed project involves drilling of oil/gas wells, laying of flow lines and the construction of manifold at Ameshi and the delivery pipeline from Anambra State to SEEPCO exiting Anieze Flowstation at Asemoku, Delta State, all in OML 143.

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