July 21, 2024

Nigerian oil workers threaten to withdraw operations, stage nationwide rally against oil theft

Oredola Adeola

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on the Nigerian Government to urgently take action against the high rate of oil theft and pipeline vandalism, threatening to withdraw its workforce, if no measure is taken after the association’s nationwide advocacy rally billed to hold on Thursday, Sept. 8, across all its various zonal locations of the association.

PENGASSAN President, Mr. Festus Osifo, disclosed this on Wednesday, at a news conference heralding its new Advocacy Programme with the theme “Chasing Oil Thieves and Vandals out if Business”, in Abuja.

EnergyDay gathered that the PENGASSAN’s nationwide Awareness Campaign Programme was aimed at highlighting the evils of oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Osifo, revealed that the criminality of theft has threatened the productivity and existence of its workforce.

According to him,  Nigeria has been struggling to meet the over 1.8 million barrels per day production quota of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) due to persistent cases of oil thefts and pipeline vandalism.

He said, “Due to these real-time challenges a lot of oil companies were shutting production and folding operations because they lacked sustenance and could not pay salaries.

“Our members are losing jobs in the service companies. Agip has literally shut down productions, Addax petroleum shut down its OML 124 completely, Total OML 58 has challenges and shut too, while SPDC was one of the worst hit as at today.

“This is the first time in years the crude oil price is hitting the roof and rising astronomically and crossing hundred dollars per barrel in the international market.

“When you shut in a single barrel, you shut in a hundred dollars, when you shut in 10,000 barrels, you shut in 10,000 multiple by a hundred dollars,” he said.

On this note, he said the association had earlier engaged the government including captains of industry, security chiefs and agencies whereby it proffered some solutions to curb the menace.

The president, while listing some recommendations the association proffered to the government said it requested consequent management and advocated sanctions to be put in place for officials in charge.

According to him, the association also advocated the use of the latest technologies for pipeline surveillance and control room monitoring being evolved globally especially, in Qatar and Saudi Arabia and others.

He said it also advocated that three percent assigned for host communities be increased to five percent while local chiefs should be empowered to monitor the channels before intended proactive measures.

He said it equally advised that security chiefs should hold the security officers sent to the creeks in Niger Delta accountable and anyone that derailed or compromised should be punished or sent to prison as a deterrent.

According to him, the engagement over time has not yielded any fruit or results rather the menace continues to bedevil the country.

“After the advocacy rally, our Central Working Committee will appraise the situation after one or two months, if there is no substantial or traceable progress made, the association may be forced to withdraw its workforce from productions.

“Government must wake up, we want to see tangible evidence and results. The rhetoric must stop. This is the time to practicalise the talks, the government must develop muscle to tackle the menace,” he said.