Fuel Scarcity to Worsen as Oil Workers Threaten Shut Down over Sale of Oil Blocs
Employees of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), have been directed to shutdown indefinitely their locations and all oil production facilities nationwide in a bid to force the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and the federal government to reverse the transfer of operatorship of OMLs 42, 40 and 30.
The assets were previously operated by Shell.
The directive to shut down the facilities was issued Monday by the executive councils of the Petroleum and Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
To this effect, all branch chairmen of the unions have been directed to fully implement the directive starting from Wednesday, May 20, 2015.
The unions are aggrieved that the sale of the assets did not follow due process and would affect the fortunes of the NPDC and its workers.
Mr. Emeka Offor’s Elcrest Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, a joint venture company of Eland Oil & Gas Plc, was awarded the operatorship of OML 40, while Mr. Ernest Azudialu Obiejesi’s NECONDE is the operator of OML 42.
No fewer than three flow stations have already been shut down in the creeks of the Niger Delta ahead of Wednesday’s total shutdown.
Nigeria is the largest producer of crude oil in Africa and the sixth largest in the world but corruption has ensured that Nigerians do not get the best of the bounty from oil. Government after government has kept operations in the sector as opaque as possible to encourage a festering of corruption.
Already, there is fuel scarcity in some parts of the country with Lagos worst hit. Nigeria is the only member of OPEC with a perennial history of fuel crises. The latest action from the oil unions means more trouble for Nigerians as it will further impair any attempt to address the lingering fuel scarcity in some parts of the country.