CHANGING HOSTILE ATTITUDE OF OIL PRODUCING COMMUNITIES THROUGH, EFFECTIVE PUBLICATION
(A CASE STUDY OF SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY)
In this life, every activity we indulge in is bound to affect the lives of others directly or indirectly favourably or otherwise.
In an age such as ours, where the dynamism of modern technologies, global economics and world populations are disputably unprecedented the attendant changes witnessed in the peoples lives attitudes and world perceptions are as odious as they vary.
These changes have found their way info communities today, on a narrower scope what with the numerous causes of crises inherent.
For oil producing communities the situation is volatile and the operating oil- exploration and production companies are left at the mercy of the indigenes. How then do the companies being the most accessible victims of raging communities, react to such crisis situation in order to quell or completely avert such incidents? The case of shell forms the backbone of this study.
The work lays claim to importance because the objectives, which seek to analyze the public relation strategies employed by shell. BP in avoiding very form of crises in the host communities should expose identified lapses from available statistics and recommend and possible solution or alternatives where necessary. Therefore the entire staff of shell – Nigeria, indigenes of the oil producing communities observes, the government of Nigeria at all levels, academics, students and social commentators should find this work useful.
Comprising five chapters, the first is the introduction, in which a background of eh study, problem, statement and objective of the study are expressed. The basic research questions importance of the work relevant theories and the definition of operational terms form the rest of the chapter.
Chapter two and three are the review of related literature to the study and the methods with which the researcher went about gathering relevant data for the study.
Chapter four shows that presentation, analysis and description of data available and also, the discussion of the result while chapter five is the summary of the work, conclusion and the presentation of recommendations.
This study aims at investigating the techniques being used by shell to avert and keep under control, the cases that frequently I\occur between it and the host communities in which it carries out its oil exploration and production activities.
Apparently, problems have continued to exist in oil producing communities which is the nations treasure base owing to oil production and consequence under development in the area as witnessed in the communities where the operations exist and the entire oil producing communities as a whole is it ironically indeed the fact that the area is largely under developed and eh majority of Nigeria wealth comes from there.
In the process of finding out strategies employed by shell, the largest oil company operating in the oil producing communities, hypothesis bordering on the peoples perceptions of the situation the degree of shell’ is involvement the company’s public relation efforts relevance and satisfactory level were evaluated and recommendations proffered. These data were collected from questionnaires and interviews responses from indigenes of Port- Harcourt and shell public affair department staff. The findings were a bit more positive than negative.
- Background study and history of case study
- Statement of problem/ purpose of the study
- Significant of the study
- Research questions
- Definition of terms
- REVIEW OF LITERATURE
- Research methodology
- Research design
- Areas of study
- Population and sample of study
- Method of data analysis
4.0 data analysis and presentation
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Petroleum is as of now, the bedrock of the Nigeria economy. It provides 80% of the nations revenue and 90% of its foreign exchange with a production rate of two million barrels a day, the country is Africa largest exporter of crude oil and among the top ten oil producing countries in the world of today in the world. Ever since the oil boom era of 1970s, the Federal Government has depended on the income generated has depended on the income generated from petroleum to develop and sustain the nation and its people. As such the petroleum industry is a entree of attraction for all Nigerians.
Oil prospecting in Nigeria began as far back as 1908 by the German company, Nigeria Bitumen corporation in the Araromi areas of the present Ondo state in western Nigeria, but is was not until 1956 that the shell followed by the first oil exports two years later, ever since than, news on petroleum exploration drilling and marketing have become indications as to how buoyant and stable the Nigeria economy is every interest of this nation for these activities to continue smoothly. So far this has not been the case as these oil related activities have been constantly disrupted in the past four to six years. This is the major reason why the interest has manifested into the research world developed.
There are oil-producing companies in Nigeria who have licenses to explore, drill and market petroleum jointly with the Nigeria national petroleum corporation (NNPC). The NNPC is the federal government representative which implement governments polices and directives and at the same time controls and supervises the activates of the oil- producing companies.
Petroleum which sustain Nigeria is derived from the lands and territorial waters of Nigeria. The people form these oil prosodic areas claim ownership of this mineral since it derived from their soil. In this light these communities demand royalties for petroleum drilled for their land, compensation for any environmental damage such as oil spillage and pollution as well as kind rents and other levels.
In the past the oil companies paid royalties, compensation and land rent to the communities where petroleum was explored and drilled. But with the coming of the 1979 constitution the situation changed section 40, such section 3 f eh constitution states that “ the entire property in and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in under or upon any land in Nigeria or in under or upon the territorial waters
- THE HISTORY AND ACTIVITIES OF SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
The discovery of oil in Nigeria was developed in 1937 with the establishment of a consortium owned by Royal Dutch Shell and British petroleum. This consortium was know as shell D’ Arcy exploration parties and later became shell British petroleum development company of Nigeria.
On November 4, 1938, the British colonial government granted this company an oil exploration license (OEL) covering all of Nigeria. By 1857 shell BP had reduced its average to 40,000 square mile oil prospecting licenses , narrowing down to the Niger delta, with its headquarters at Owerri.
Between 1938 and 1941, Shell BP undertook preliminary geological reconnaissance. After a five ears interruption by the world war II, it intensified and followed up this activity with geophysical surveys. In 1951, Shell had its first exploration well at Ihuo. Bu\y 1956 Shell drilled its first commercial well at Oloribiri in what is now River state. Since then, the company has been drilling one successful well after the other.
Two years later, 1958, with a modest production of 6,000 barrels of crude oil, shell contributed t the first shipment of crude oil from Nigeria. By 1961, the Bonny terminal of the company was commissioned and the Port- Harcourt office, the eastern base of the company was officially opened. In 1965 the Trans-Niger pipeline was commissioned and later in the year shell commissioned Nigeria’s first refinery in Port- Harcourt.
The company accounts for about 50% of the total crude oil produced in Nigeria, it operated on lad swap, offshore and of recent deeper offshore.
The objective of the company is to find, produce and deliver hydrocarbon safely and responsibly for the refit of its state holders. The state holder are the federal government the host community the shell group employees, the NNPC the joint venture partner state and local government, suppliers and contractors, customers, the Nigeria public the world publics.
Shell is the operator of NNPC/ Shell Agip/ ELF joint venture partnership. The joint venture arrangement is in the proportion of NNPC controlling 55% of he venture. Shell 35% while Agip and Elf control 5% each.
The joint venture companies meet to draw an operations budget to which each company contributes terms of their share holding. The profit is shared also according to this proportion.
The operational structure is such and the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria shall react in the government of the federation and shall be managed in such a manner as may be prescribed by the national assembly. With this law, land no longer belonged to the people but to the government.
The oil companies now paid royalties and taxes to the government and gave compensation to the communities for causing environmental damage. Following these laws, the federal government appropriate over 90% of the oil revenue with an insignificant share going to the state and the oil producing communities.
This has not gone down well with the communities. The people feel they are being deprived of their God- given wealth. This has lead to agitation by the oil producing communities for a greasers share in the wealth which heir land producers.
In the 1980’s these agitations were mild and almost unnoticed bet since the 1990’s the situation has become very tense agitations have become aggressive and have many a time disrupted the activities of some oil companies were seriously disrupted by the oil communities who were on rampage for a long time, especially the Ogni land in River state.
At present the people have become more aware of how the wealth which is derived from their lands is used to develop the nation. They went this development which petroleum brings about to come to them too as well as awareness the communities are increasing their demands from the oil companies and federal government.
There is still a continuing debate and tissue between the oil companies and the federal garment on who should be responsible for producing the soil amenities and other things which the communities demand. The federal government often as cause the oil companies of being insensitive the plight f their host communities and thus including their agitations and hostility. In the words of the former petroleum minister, chief Don Etiebet, the extreme disparity in the standard of living oil workers company an their hast communities coupled with the refusal of the companies to extend electricity and pope borne water enjoyed in such camps to the communities is what is causing the problem.
The oil companies on their part claim that it is the responsibility the government to develop these communities since they, the oil companies blame the government for not producing these areas with social amenities resulting to the problems which affect them that the headquarters of shell is located in Lagos with Weston and eastern bases in Warri and Port- Harcourt respectively. The headquarters takes care of policy formulation and liaising with the government while the Warri and Port- Harcourt office are mainly operational.
- THE PUBLIC RELATION DEPARTMENT
Soon after shell BP came into being, a public relation department was established after due consideration of what is involved in the activities of an oil corporation, the need for good relationship with eh communities where oil fields, administration and staff quarters flow station and other facilities are located. However, it was in 1951 that he PR office was official opened and put under that name.
The first section created was the press unit, which gave out information to the government and acted as a medical between management and staff. The second was the community relation unit to create a favourable atmosphere between the company and the communities it comes in contact with.
Today, the PR department, which goes by the name public and government affairs, is decontrolled into three units based in Lagos, Warri and Port Harcourt. The Lagos office development the major PR polices and does the planning and co-operation of PR activities of the whole company. The Warir and Port- Harcourt offices implement these polices in their zones for uniformity. However, the zones make some polices incases that affect there specifically without having to watt for directive from Lagos.
In the past, before the office of the divisional manager, the head of the public and government affairs reported directly to the divisional manager. Today the head f public and government affairs reports to the manager, health, safety environmental and community affairs.
The report is focused on the eastern division based in Port-Harcourt. Hence the public and government affairs department (PAGE) is split into five units- Agricultural services, government and community assistance survives.
The agricultural services unit offers help to farmers and fishermen in the communities to help them improve their work and gains. The lands unit is responsible for land acquisition and paying compensation for such lands. This unit is responsible for getting lands for locations, access roads, plants, offices and homes. The business support unit gives business aids in terms of business advices and loans to small and medium scale assistance unit is an engineering unit and affects programmes drawn by the government and community relations unit and he agricultural services unit.
The government and community unit is further split into three sub-units the government relations, media relations and community relations.
The government relations unit is Port Harcourt, it is headed by a doctorate degree holder and services opt lisaeable legislation and win government support is headed by a seasoned media practitioners and functions to maintain an understanding with the media as regard security good publicity and avoiding wrong information in the media. He community relation unit liased with the communities handles their grievance and advice both parties on how to settle the matter amicably. In the course of liaising with the communities the unit recommend as projects that the company can do to help he communities the key men here are the communities liaison officers.
The public and government affairs department of shell has its operating philosophy which tells one o what the department is all about.. enshrined in its operating philosophy are the objectives of achieving a better understanding of shell role and contribution as well as contributing toteh improvement of life in the communities. Also included are the reduction of the disruption of generation, improving communication within shell and with the communities and improving operational co-operation with relevant government functionaries.
- STATEMENT OF PROBLEM/PURPOSE OF STUDY
The problem, which this work will attempt to tackle in the hostility antagonism and antipathy of the oil-producing areas towards the oil companies.
The purpose f the research is to identify the hostile attitude and behaviour of the communities, the reasons behind these attitude and behaviour what the oil companies have done so far and hoe successful they have been as well as what further can be done through public rations so that coordinal relationship can exist between both parties.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This work is expected to be of value to everybody in the oil sector of the Nigeria economy. At the same time, it will be valuable to the average Nigeria, to inform him about this issue which has generated a lot of interest, publicity and tension in the country.
This research is expected to be valuable to oil producing companies in Nigeria who are presently facing a hostile working environment in the communities where they operate. This work intends to provide them with information with which to tackle with this problem. Also public relation practitioner n the oil sector will find this worlds handy as it will provide them with reasons why the communities are hostile to the oil companies and some ideas to use in developing and maintaining cardinal relationship with the communities. This work will also expose the pitfalls of their previous public relations programmes.
The oil producing communities will find this work useful as it will help them understand the roots of their problem and thus know how to go about soiling it. It should help them understand the oil companies position and in the process be able to relate to them.
In the same vain, this world is expected to be useful to the federal government which relies on this “ controversial” oil to keep the nation going. This project will pinout the responsibility’s of the government in the quest to maintain peace and harmony in the oil sector.
Finally, this work will be a valuable aid to Nigerian public relations practitioners who are battling to ensure the profession is given its due respect commerce and industry. There are some problems that can only be solved by employing the specialized techniques of public rations. The problem of hostility if oil communities towards the oil companies is one of such problems.
The federal government before now was allocations special funds to the oil – producing stats to develop eh oil producing areas but this was not enough in the eyes of the people. Due to increased agitations by this communities,” the oil mineral producing area development commission (NDDC) was established under decree No. 23 of 1993 to address the difficulties and suffering of inhabitants of the oil producing areas and administer the monthly sums from the allocation of the federation account in accordance with conformed ratio of oil production in each stat for the rehabilitation and e\development o foil-producing areas and tackling ecological problems that have arisen from the exploration of oil mineral. The commission was allocated the 3% funds from the federation account to carry out its function.
The oil producing companies in their own capability provide different forms of community assistance projects such as electricity, pipe borne water, educational aids like scholarship and build classroom blocks, building roads and helping with agricultures and health facilities.
Despite al these, the oil- producing areas like Oliver, Twist are still asking for more. The communities are becoming more aggressive and hostile towards the oil companies and the government .one cannot predict the extent and dimension will take for “ reparations” and “ reclamations” will take. What can be said for now is that this awakening in the oil areas is indeed casting a new course in the b\history oil in Nigeria.
This research work after tracing the factors leading to the problem in the petroleum industry will seek to find out what can done by the oil companies to put an end to the unending problems posed by the oil producing communities.
The research questions which this report seeks to provide answers to are.
- What hostile attitudes and action have the oil- producing communities taken towards the oil companies?
- What factors have led to these hostile attitudes and actions.
- What public ratios strategies have the oil companies employed in developing cordial relationship with their neighbors- the oil- producing communities these putting an en to hostilities?
- How effective have these measure been in achieving the desired results.
- What alternative approaches could the oil producing companies adopt in correcting the hostile attitudes and actions of the communities.?
The problem which the work will look into is a wide one. However, due to lack of time and resources the work ha been delimited to ensure thoroughness in research and presentation .
Firstly, the work is delimited to its oil-producing communities in River state. Oil producing communities exist in eight states of the federation River, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Ondo state, Imo, Abia and Cross Rive. It would be Pi actically impossible to cover thoroughly the oil producing communities in these states. Thus, as the largest producer for petroleum and being the most volatile states as regards agitations by oil- producing areas, River state was chosen as the locality for the study.
Secondly, there are several companies operating in the oil sector. There are oil- producing companies who have the license for prospecting in certain defined geographical areas. Any oil well in such areas belong to these companies. There are the oil-servicing companies who are the contractors to the oil-producing companies handle rig building, drilling wire lining geographical survey and in some cases, marketing of drilling tools. The oil-servicing companies are contracted when there is a job for them to do. These companies deals with the oil- producing companies but do nit have much responsibilities to the communities as they are mere contractors and have no licenses covering such oil- producing areas,.
In the light, the research will focus on oil- producing companies who are the people who usually encounter problems with the communities. Tops among these oil-producing development company, Chevron Nigeria limited, Agip Nigeria limited, Mobil oil Nigeria limited and Elf Nigeria limited.
This project has chosen shell petroleum development company as case study for a number of reasons. Firstly it is the biggest of a the oil-producing companies ad produces about 50% of the total oil produced in Nigeria. Secondly, shell is the company which has faced most of the community disturbances of hostile communities and has been declared an enemy in Ogoni Landland oil- producing community in River state in 1992, shell in its eastern zone experienced 62 incidents of community disturbance and in 1999, it had 128 cases of community disturbance. Thirdly shell is the company with the most installations and plants in River state, the locality of study being present in all local government areas except one.
Apart from these delimitations, due to the very sensitive nature of this topic, the researcher could not risk going to any of the oil-producing areas proper to ask questions. Eh issue of oil-companies the communities and the disagreement going on between them is one that generates a lot of tension in Rivers state.
As a result of the materials, used for this research were there fore obtained from the residents of Port- Harcourt metropolis. Aside the issue of safety it was in Port – Harcourt that the researcher could get enlightened and literature Nigerians for on the oil-producing to the questionnaires and answer oral questions
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Before delving into the complexities of this report, I would be proper to give operational definitions of terms that will be constantly used in the work.
- Hostility – This is a feeling or showing of enmity and ill will. It entails opposition and unfriendliness in thought and action towards an identified enemy.
- Attitudes- Attitudes are our evaluations of objects, our likes and dislikes. The objects of attitudes very, could be tangible objects, people groups, ideas or behaviours. It its worthy to note that an attitude is a learned stat which predisposes a person to behave in a particular way. Behaviour is usually an expression of one’s attitude.
- Oil – producing communities: The oil- producing communities are those communities in whose territory petroleum has been discovered and is being drilled the communities that have plants and installations such as flow stations administrative and staff quarters also fall into this category. Even the people whose land is passed in the transportation of petroleum and across whose land pipeline are laid for oil transportation fall into thus group.
These oil-producing will, in the remaining chapters of this work be referred to as the communities.
- Oil-Producing Companies: As previously stated, for he purpose of this research these are those companies which have licenses to prospect explore, f\drill and market petroleum.
In the reaming chapter of this work the oil- producing companies wall just be teemed “ oil-producing companies “ and the term oil and petroleum will be used int4rchanginably. Shell petroleum development company will be simply referred to as shell.
- Public relations: “essentially public relations is about creating an understanding through knowledge and this often involves affecting change.
Public relations practice entail every thin that its calculated to improve mutual understanding between an organization and all with whom it comes tin contant and all rations to discover and eliminate sauces of misunderstanding.
Ajala, Victoria O. (1993) Public relations in search of professional excellence (Afriklink books, Ibadan- Enugu – Abuja)
Hoadly, Walter (1994) An instrument of change in Human rights – The new consensus (Regency press humanity) Ltd. Gordon houses 6 Lissenden Garden, London NW5 KX)
Offonry, Kanu H. (1985) Guide to public relations in Nigeria(New Africa publishing company ltd).
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