Just as crude oil production is increasing from its lowest ebb as a result of attacks on oil and gas installations by Niger Delta agitators, there is a fresh threat from the workers in the oil and gas industry that can affect the production in the country, just as the picketing of all ExxonMobil Nigeria entered the second day on Wednesday.
The workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have started gradual withdrawal from oil and gas installations belonging to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, the Nigeria's ExxonMobil arm.
Currently, Mobil is one of the largest oil producing company in Nigeria with about 660,000 barrel per day (bpd). Nigeria's revenue will be negatively impacted if the oil wells and shut down of oil and gas installations by PENGASSAN is carried out.
Addressing the workers during the picketing of ExxonMobil Office in Lagos on Wednesday, the PENGASSAN Lagos Zonal Chairman, Comrade Abel Agarin, said that there has been gradual shutting down of the plants in Mobil locations all over the country.
"Our members have begun gradual withdrawal from oil and gas installations belonging to Mobil in Nigeria. Our members in the loading bay at Best Operations Platform (BOP), where crude oil is loaded have been withdrawn, while those in Erha and Ushan FPSO will be joining by midnight today and those in Bonny River Terminal will join by midnight Thursday. Final shut down will be with the withdrawal of our members in Qua Iboe Terminal with about 14 locations and many well ends by Friday midnight.
"By Friday, other International Oil Companies (IOCs) such as Chevron, Shell, Addax, Total and Agip and indigenous oil companies will join. We are also mobilising our members in Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS)," he said.
Members of PENGASSAN started a three days warning strike last Wednesday to protest the refusal of the ExxonMobil management to honour an agreement reached during a tripartite meeting with the senior staff union and the Ministry of Labour and Productivity.
They said that in the agreement brokered by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, the management agreed to review the sack of 83 employees in December and that none of the workers that participated in a protest in December will be sanctioned for their actions.
"Without honouring the agreement, the management went ahead to suspend other union leaders in the company that took part in the December protest. The company has no respect for constituted authority of the land, as represented by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity. The management disobey the law and authority of Nigeria and we find this unacceptable to us," he said.