Over $177.136 billion (N63.778 trillion) has been lost to the halt in crude oil production from 96 oil wells in Ogoni land in the last 25 years.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) started operations in Ogoni land in Rivers State in 1958, drilling a total of 96 wells to bring nine oil fields on stream.
By the end of 1992, Ogoni production was some 28,000 barrels of oil a day, about three per cent of SPDC’s total production, but SPDC stopped production in Ogoni land and withdrew from the area in 1993 after violence against its staff and action targeting the company’s facilities due to massive crude oil production, which destroyed the communities’ rivers and farmlands.Prior to the crises in the Niger Delta communities, SPDC had produced 28,000 barrels per day (bpd), which amounted to 102,2000,000 barrels in one year.
At the current Brent crude oil price of $69.34 per barrel, the country has lost an average of $7.01 billion in one year and a total of $177.136 billion in the last 25 years.
Although SPDC has produced no oil or gas from Ogoni fields since 1993, Ogoni land continues to serve as a transit route for pipelines transporting both SPDC and third-party oil production from other areas.
The Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) was established in 1990 and began campaigning for greater control over oil and gas resources on their land, for economic development, and autonomy over their affairs, (including cultural, religious and environmental matters). MOSOP’s demands were summarised in their 1990 ‘Ogoni
Bill of Rights’, which were mostly of a political nature and addressed to the Nigerian government.
By November 1992, MOSOP was also demanding $6 billion in royalties from past oil production and $4 billion for alleged environmental damage, and SPDC was given 30 days to accept or leave Ogoni land.
Despite the loses incurred by the country through non-oil production in Ogoni land, activists in Niger Delta have continued to caution the Federal Government and oil companies against the resumption of oil production in the Niger Delta communities.
MOSOP President, Chief Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, has insisted that crude oil production will not be allowed in Ogoni land until the Federal Government and the oil companies carry out the necessary clean up in the communities polluted by massive oil spills.
Former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ledum Mitee, said that any resumption of oil production activities without credible cleanup of the polluted environment would be tantamount to profound insensitivity to the plight of Ogoni people.