The Federal Government through the Federal Executive Council (FEC), has awarded the Phase-1 Engineering, Procurement & Construction contract for Oloibiri Museum & Research Centre (OMRC) in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in favour of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc with a completion period of 30 months.
This is coming after sixty-six years of oil discovery in commercial quantities at Oloibiri, Bayelsa State by Shell D’Arcy.
The FEC meeting, which was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, further approved the scope of work which would include a masterpiece museum and a research center. This is expected to close a major gap in the nation’s quest for home grown technology inputs required to service exploration and production activities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
The establishment of OMRC has been at concept stage for over three decades and the inability to progress to the construction phase is viewed as an historical oversight as an operational museum and research center would preserve the heritage and developments in the oil and gas sector similar to what obtains in other oil producing nations.
Details of the project indicate that it has four development partners, comprising the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and the Bayelsa State Government (BYSG), and each entity would contribute to the development of the monument in the ratio of 40, 30, 20 and 10 percent respectively.
The project team for the symbolic project was first launched in August 2020 by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, with the inauguration of key project committees and setting of delivery timelines.
The project is approved as part of President Buhari’s signature programs that would leave behind enduring legacies, and impact the oil and gas community, the people of the Niger Delta, and the entire nation.
The historical essence of the project is to convert the location where first oil was discovered into a monumental edifice that would preserve the heritage and developments in the oil and gas sector. The socio economic impact of the project includes employment generation, tourism, research & technology development and integration of oil and gas host communities into mainstream developmental narrative of the country.
With the contract approval, the groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be held within Quarter 1 2023 and will mark the beginning of the upliftment in the quality of life of the immediate host community, Bayelsa State and people of the Niger Delta.
Commenting on the approval, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Sylva commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his special love for the Niger Delta region, recalling that he granted his first approval for the project amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact.
He explained further that the project 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 fulfillment of the requirement for approval of new technologies.
To ensure sustainability, the project adopted a development model that will leverage the benefits of public-private partnership, inter-agency collaboration, and inter-governmental alignment, to optimize resource utilization and ensure that the Oloibiri museum meets international standards, Sylva explained.
To ensure timely execution, the project created two committees and five project teams to provide necessary support and supervision essential to deliver the OMRC project.
The committees include the Steering Committee, which would be responsible for providing leadership and steer and the Coordinating Committee, responsible for providing oversight on activities of all the project teams, which include Construction, Funds mobilization and management, Community Relations, Health, Safety & Environment and Secretariat, which is situated in NCDMB Head Office in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.