A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

PENGASSAN decries threats to oil, gas operations

PENGASSAN-Logo-410 September 2013, Abuja – The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has expressed concern over the disconcerting resurgence of kidnapping, abduction and gruesome killing of oil workers in the Niger Delta area, most especially in Rivers state.

The oil workers union is also lamenting the seemingly uncontrollable oil theft, illegal bunkering and abysmal petroleum refining, which it stated has put the oil and gas revenue prospects on the alarming brink with attendant deficit impact on the committed expenditure and capital projects across the various levels of government.

The union, in a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan, sought urgent intervention to address the situation, stressing that no player and investors would be encouraged into any unpredictable or vulnerable business environment.

The letter, signed by the union’s secretary, Bayo Olowoshile, stressed that the reappearance of such traumatic and daring criminal acts would worsen the currently pre-conceived Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, induced slow investment climate and divestment propensity in the oil and gas sector.

The union, while noting that workers’ fundamental rights to life, right to mobility and the right to work without fear of victimisation/molestation is again being challenged by the insecurity situation in the region threatened to withdraw their services from the industry if the security and safety of lives and that of their families could no longer be guaranteed by the government.

It therefore implored President Jonathan to intervene by providing adequate security and safety for members and other workers in the industry to avert an impending strike that might throw the oil and gas industry and the nation’s economy at large into crisis.

The letter reads in part:”Your Excellency sir, no player and investors will be encouraged into any unpredictable or vulnerable business environment such as our Oil and Gas Sector is once again exposed. Rather, the industry wishes to be fully reassured that the respite recorded from the re-orientation from militancy to human development and empowerment, which is gathering momentum in the Niger Delta, has come to stay.

“Nothing could be more pleasing than the news that government has been able to stem the nefarious acts of kidnapping and killing of innocent oil workers who are victims in the course of doing their lawful duty. The reappearance of such traumatic and daring criminal acts would worsen the currently preconceived PIB induced slow investment climate and divestment propensity in the Sector.

“Recently, two contractors were taken from the creeks, the wife of an SPDC staff was abducted from her poultry farm and another staff member was abducted and subsequently assassinated while on private business.

“Workers’ fundamental rights to life, right to mobility and the right to work without fear of victimisation/molestation is again being challenged. Opinion are that the federal government and states in the Niger Delta have relaxed their intelligence, security and law enforcement responsibility that has giving room to renewed hostage taking for ransom.

“With the resurging threats to the oil and gas industry, the International Oil Companies (IOCs) have issued security alert and warnings to their employees. As a Labour Union, we will equally not shy away from our moral and constitutional role to direct our members to take cover accordingly. This may possibly lead to the withdrawal of service until the Government and the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies can ensure appropriate safety and security of lives as required.

“Your Excellency sir, the Association may in the above regard have no other option than to yield to the intense pressure from our members, whose lives are at risk, to withdraw their services from the industry if the security and safety of lives and that of their families could no longer be guaranteed by the government.

“Mr. President, as a strategic stakeholder in the oil and gas industry, we earnestly implore you to intervene by providing adequate security and safety for our members and other workers in the industry to avert an impending strike that might throw the oil and gas industry and the nation’s economy at large into crisis,” the letter added.

– This Day

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