Nigeria loses $35.25m daily as PENGASSAN pickets ExxonMobil, Neconde

NIGERIA is losing $35.25million daily as members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) picket Head offices of ExxonMobil and Neconde Energy Nigeria Limited on Monday.

The picketing, according to PENGASSAN,  was due to alleged anti-labor activities by the managements of both companies.

ExxonMobil operations across the country which produce 650,000 barrels per day of crude oil were shut down since last week while Neconde’s 55,000 bpd production was also shut down on Monday, resulting in a total loss of 705,000 barrel per day to the nation. At an average crude price of $50 per barrel, Nigeria is losing $35.25million per day as the picketing of operations of these companies continues.

The management of ExxonMobil was accused of sacking over 140 Nigerian workers in December 2016 while the management of Neconde, a subsidiary of Obijackson Group, was accused of non-payment of transfer benefits, non-review of severance packages and unfair treatment of Nigerian workers who were transferred to Warri from Lagos office without prior information and payment of transfer benefits.

A source among PENGASSAN members who pleaded anonymity stated that only workers were transferred to Warri office of Neconde while the expatriates remain in Lagos but flown to Warri when necessary.

A new twist to the labour movement was also recorded on Monday when members of Sinopec-Addax branch and Chevron branch of PENGASSAN were also prevented to resume work at Sinopec-Addax and Chevron in solidarity to their affected colleagues at ExxonMobil and Neconde.

The source also stated that the management of ExxonMobil has agreed to meet representatives of PENGASSAN at 12noon on Tuesday to find a lasting solution to the impasse while the management of Neconde is already holding a meeting as at 4pm on Monday to also find a lasting solution to the impasse.

However, the managing director of Neconde Energy Limited, Engr. Frank Edozie, said all the workers’ salaries have been paid till date and the transfer benefits which PENGASSAN claimed were denied the workers have been agreed to be settled in August when the damaged Trans-Forcados Pipeline must have been re-opened and production ramped up to about 60,000 bpd production.

According to him, “we are an indigenous company with a vision to create wealth and value for Nigerians. Neconde branch of PENGASSAN have agreed to our terms because they understand our operations better. But the national body seems not to understand our plight.

“Since militants blew up our major pipeline asset, Trans-Forcados Pipeline, February 2016, we have not been producing but yet we have been paying salaries. We provided an alternative of lifting crude by barges which are also not economical but we have to service billions of dollars of loans.”