The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited has expressed delight at the planned construction of the Olobiri Museum and Research Centre in Otuabagi, Ogbia Local Council of Bayelsa State.
The Olobiri Museum and Research Centre is being built by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria and the Bayelsa State Government.
Speaking on the development, the Managing Director of SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, described the project as historic and expressed optimism that the centre when completed would foster research and development of technologies for the country’s energy industry.
Okunbor recalled that Oloibiri was the first place where crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity, which launched Nigeria into the comity of oil-producing countries.
He urged the people of Oloibiri to own, protect and take pride in the historical and future relevance of the facility, while also taking advantage of the many opportunities it will offer.
He said, “This is history in the making and the SPDC Joint Venture is proud to be associated with it. Indeed, the energy story of Nigeria has come home! It was here in 1958 that Shell opened the first pages of the history of energy in Nigeria.
“The first commercial find of hydrocarbons was here in Oloibiri and the subsequent first export of oil which launched Nigeria into the league of oil producers was also from here.”
“The SPDC JV, therefore, commends the effort of the Federal Executive Council in the step-by-step approach that has culminated in the approval for construction and the contract award to develop the Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre.”
According to him, when concluded, the museum and research centre would be a one-stop shop in the heart of the Niger Delta for the development of technologies for the energy industry.
He added, “I expect that the centre will grow to collaborate with relevant academic institutions in the Niger Delta and beyond, to further the much-needed handshake between the energy industry in Nigeria and the academia.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr Simbi Wabote, said that the centre would correct a historical oversight that lasted for several decades during which the people of Bayelsa State complained that they had nothing to show for being the birthplace of oil and gas production in Nigeria.
“Mr President approved the establishment of the Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre as part of his signature programmes that would leave behind enduring legacies and impact the oil and gas community, the people of the Niger Delta, and indeed the entire country,” he stated.