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NIGERIA: Labour faults divestments by IOCs

Oil workersOil workers have criticized the recent spate of divestments in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry by International Oil Companies, IOCs, claiming that due process was not followed.

The workers argued that the pull out by some multinationals placed Nigerian workers at risks of losing their jobs, which will in turn; increase the level of unemployment in the labour market.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, insisted that all stakeholders should be carried along before such pull outs are concluded.

In an interview with the Vanguard, PENGASSAN President, Mr. Babatunde Ogun, said, “We are not saying that multinationals should not divest, but that the Federal government should screen the processes to protect workers in the oil industry, and by extension Nigerians. If they are to divest, due process must be followed.”

Ogun chided the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and its subsidiary, National Petroleum Investments Management Services, NAPIMS, for lack of proper supervision of these pull outs.

He, therefore, urged the National Assembly to investigate these divestments, particularly those of the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and more recently, the planned pull out of the Brazilian oil major, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Petrobras, which has commenced moves to sell off its stake in some Nigerian oil blocks valued at N795 billion ($5 billion).

The sale of the oil blocks is expected to bring about an increase in the presence of Asian oil majors in Nigeria, following renewed interests in increasing their portfolios through the acquisition of additional production assets.

The company said that divesting from the Nigerian oil blocks will help it concentrate more on exploration activities in a vast deep sea region off the coast of Brazil known as the subsalt, believed to contain dozens of billions of barrels of high quality oil.

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