Chevron May Shut down Oil Production as Workers Begin Strike

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Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), a subsidiary of the United States super oil major, Chevron Corporation may shut down crude oil production following an industrial action embarked upon by its workers in protest against non-payment of their entitlements.

Chevron Nigeria produces over 350,000 barrels of crude oil per day from around 30 oilfields.

The company has interests, ranging from 20 to 100 per cent, in three operated and six non-operated deepwater blocks in Nigeria.

It is also involved in natural gas projects in the western Niger Delta and Escravos areas, including the Escravos Gas Plant (EGP), the Escravos Gas-to-Liquids (EGTL) facility and the Sonam Field Development Project

THISDAY gathered that the oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), wednesday blocked the company’s head office in Lagos, preventing visitors or workers from entry into the premises.

One of the workers who was prevented from accessing her office at the head office in Lagos told THISDAY that only top management staff were allowed into their offices “so that they could go in and take decision on the industrial crisis and not to perform any administrative duties.”

“In the coming days, production may be shut down if management does not act fast,” she said.

Speaking on what led to the crisis, she said “the union is demanding the yearly entitlements of the workers. The workers are entitled to certain allowances in every December and January but the management has refused to pay.”

The workers have also threatened to shut down the company’s oil production facilities in Escravos and other parts of the Western Niger Delta.

Investigation revealed that only skeletal activities were ongoing at the major production units as the union allowed only two workers to man each unit, against the normal five to 10 workers.

Efforts to reach the spokespersons of the company were unsuccessful as at press time.

Junior oil workers under the auspices of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), had earlier this year threatened to ground operations of the company into a total halt through industrial action.

NUPENG had issued a seven-day ultimatum for the company to recall the 500 staff, it sacked, including members of its executives affected by the exercise.

Chevron was accused of planning to sack more than 70 per cent of its labour manpower, under the guise that its operations in Nigeria had reduced.