The Oloibiri Oil well was discovered on Sunday 15th January 1956 by Shell Darcy. It was the first commercial oil discovery in Nigeria after years of unsuccessful oil exploration in the country by various international oil companies.
Olobiri is located in Ogbia local government area of the state, where the former president of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan hails from.
The Olobiri oilfield continued to expand with several wells discovered which supplied Nigeria thousands of barrels of crude everyday and were exported to different nations of the world.
The first crude oil well was named Oloibiri Well after Oloibiri community by Shell and the community became a flurry of activities with the discovery of black gold. The area transformed into a trading post and became the centre of commerce in the Niger Delta.
Unfortunately, instead of fast tracking the development of the area, the story was different as the community recorded no meaningful development all through the period of crude oil exploration.
The residents still lack basic amenities while suffering the environmental degradation and pollution caused by oil spills, which adversely affected their livelihood and kept them impoverished.
The public schools there has delapidated structures which have been abandoned, there are no good roads, electricity, potable drinking water, health care centre, town hall, among others.
This continued till the oil well dried up and Shell simply packed up and moved to the next location, leaving the once bubbling environment a shadow of itself.
Today, Oloibiri has no trace of once being the center of activities years after the crude oil dried, and is marked by weather beaten signboard with the inscription, Oloibiri Well 1, drilled June 1956, 12,008 feet.
In August 2020, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva announced the President’s approval to site the Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre (OMRC) in Oloibiri as an indication of its relevance to the history of crude oil exploration and to bring development to the surrounding communities and Bayelsa State.
The project is being promoted by four major institutions the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), from the private sector (SPDC) and the Bayelsa State government.
The foundation stone was laid by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001, which shows that the project has been in the works for decades before it was finally approved in 2020 and is slated to be completed in 36 months.
However, the museum and research institute is still at foundation level and overcome with weeds which questions the true intentions of the Federal Government about the project.
The people of the community have continued to agitate for better living conditions and development from the proceeds of the crude which has taken away so much from them.