Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Foreign Oil Workers Highest Paid Worldwide

A typical oil and gas executive in Nigeria earns nearly half a million dollars (about N80 million) a year, chalking up the biggest premium for working abroad over salary levels in Britain, research released yesterday showed. Those who have watched developments in the country with keen interest said the high pay is possibly responsible for risk appetite of foreigners who prefer to work in the creeks during the days of militancy in the Niger Delta.

According to George Olodo, a social commentator in Lagos, such a pay could make anyone defy the high level of risk to work in a very risky area.

But Oteme Uzeme, a retired oil worker, wondered why the pay for expatriate should be that high in Nigeria, which is relatively less risky than Iraq and even Libya.

A typical senior oil and gas employee in Nigeria will receive a supplementary country premium worth 45 per cent of base pay, taking the total salary of $454,400 a year, a study by the Curzon Partnership recruitment consultants showed.

This trumps packages for executives working in Libya or Iraq, who could expect a total salary of around $354,900, the research found, said Reuters.

Oil and gas workers from developed nations working in Nigeria are paid well because of the number of projects that need international staff, local skills shortages and big cultural differences, the firm said.

"Whilst Lagos is an exciting and well established place to work for expats, oil and gas companies recognise that the incentives have to be high, because life as an expat in Nigeria is so different from countries with broader industries and higher standards of living," Helen Di Mauro, a partner at the Curzon Partnership, said.

Oil industry executives in Indonesia can expect a premium of 40 per cent in Indonesia, 35 per cent in Ghana and 30 per cent in Libya, Kurdistan or Egypt, the research found.

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