ExxonMobil Crisis Deepens as Oil Workers Threaten Shell, Chevron, Total


Ejiofor Alike

The picketing of Mobil Producing Unlimited, an affiliate of ExxonMobil, continued on Thursday with oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) threatening to escalate the crisis to Shell, Chevron and Total by the weekend.

The workers on Tuesday picketed the company’s offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Eket, and insisted that the action would continue until the federal government prevailed on the company to address their grievances.

PENGASSAN had also on Tuesday commenced the gradual withdrawal of its members from all upstream locations to press home their demands.

According to PENGASSAN, the final shutdown will be with the withdrawal of its members at the Qua Iboe Terminal with about 14 locations by Friday midnight.

“By Friday, other international oil companies such as Chevron, Shell, Addax, Total and Agip and indigenous oil companies will join,” PENGASSAN threatened.

The National President of PENGASSAN, Mr. Francis Olabode Johnson, said the withdrawal would impact on oil production and further drive down the country’s production and revenue.

The Port Harcourt Zonal Chairman of PENGASSAN, Mr. Azubuike O. Azubuike, told THISDAY on Thursday that the picketing would continue and would be escalated to other international oil companies (IOCs) by the weekend.

“We insist that processes must be followed procedurally. The law gives ExxonMobil powers to declare redundancy but processes must be followed. That is our position. If the government does not address the issues by the weekend, we will escalate the crisis,” he warned.

Oil workers have been agitating for the reinstatement of their colleagues who were recently fired by the U.S. oil multinational.

The Lagos Zonal Chairman of PENGASAN, Mr. Abel Agarin, had alleged that the report of the committee set up by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on the workers’ crisis was sent to only the management of ExxonMobil.

According to him, the minister had intervened and set up the committee after the company sacked 83 members of staff.
“Following the intervention of the minister, 10 cases out of the 83 were set aside because they were high flying employees.

“But after the committee submitted its report, the company started distributing another batch of redundancy letters and even the 10 that were initially set aside were given redundancy letters,” Agarin had explained.