The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for graciously approving the contract sum of N117 billion for Phase-1 Engineering, Procurement & Construction of the Oloibiri Oil & Gas Museum and Research Centre project in Bayelsa State with a completion time frame of two and a half years.
Dr. Kiyaramo who made the commendation when he received the Acting Curator of the Oloibiri Oil & Gas Museum and Research Centre, Mrs. Rachel Adelani in his office in Yenagoa on Friday, informed that crude oil sites are now being promoted all over the world as special interest tourism niche destinations to attract visitors and adventure tourists alike to such places.
He added that: “The story of the Oloibiri Well 1, where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria and by extension, West Africa, is similar to that of Drake’s Oil Well in Pennsylvania, being the first commercial oil well in the United States, named after the well’s driller, Edwin L. Drake who in 1859 struck oil outside of Titusville for the Seneca Oil Company”.
The governor’s aide expressed the hope that the proposed Oloibiri Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre, when completed, would favourably compare with other petroleum museums such as the Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Norway, Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre in Oman, the Texas Petroleum Museum, California Oil Museum and the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Museum which rake in millionsof dollars to the host states and communities.
He further noted that: “There are many museums, memorials, and other historical establishments like the Oloibiri Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre, around the globe which commemorate the contributions of the petroleum industry to the world’s cultural landscape.
“The history of petroleum geoscience goes hand-in-hand with the history of the world, just as technology and culture of petroleum geology reflect those of time, past and present.
“Museums are important educational environments that offer considerable learning potentials as such collections exhibited in museums provide pupils with a tangible connection with time, places, events, or people and allow them to experience the evolution of human history and cultural heritage.
“Oklahoma petroleum-related museums, exhibit America’s exploration and production heritage, which began in Pennsylvania in August 27, 1859. These museums teach visitors about the modern energy business”, Dr. Kiyaramo informed.
According to him, Texas oil and natural gas history museums exhibit America’s petroleum exploration heritage, as well as educate visitors to the museums about the modern business of meeting America’s energy needs, informing that Texas oil museums also exhibit technological and environmental advancements, as well as discoveries, products, including celebrating local pioneers who created the petroleum industry which still is thriving in many economies.
“The Oloibiri Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre stands to tell the story of the rich history of the oil and gas industry that has created wealth, employment and prosperity for generations of Nigerians with nothing to show for in the host communities in the Niger Delta region.
“The Museum is expected to highlight the inner workings of Bayelsa state’s pioneering petroleum industry through interactive displays, videos, working models, games, photographs, restored gas station memorabilia, and an authentic turn-of-the-century drilling technology”, he said.
Dr. Kiyaramo noted that in addition to the permanent exhibits, the Oloibiri Oil and Gas museum should offer new rotating installations exploring science, transportation, culture, and history throughout the year for students and researchers in the oil and gas sector access.
Earlier, the Acting Curator of the Oloibiri Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre, Mrs. Rachel Adelani had explained that: :Exploring museums could give students and researchers the ability to engage actively in the process of acquiring knowledge and to express thoughts and emotions”, pointing out that effective use of museums can lead to multifaceted learning and development of critical thinking skills as well as acquisition of lifelong learning skills of the 21st century.
Mrs. Adelani who recalled how long the proposed oil museum has been on the drawing board, pledged the support of the Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Prof. Abba Issa Tijani and his unbeatable team’s readiness works towards actualisation of project.
She appealed to the host communities to cooperate with the contractors when they mobile to site, adding that the host communities will gain socially, economically and culturally
It will be recalled that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva had said: “The project consists of the construction of a masterpiece 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.
According to the Minister: “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”.