A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

PENGASSAN protests as SAPETRO fires workers

15 September 2015, Lagos – South Atlantic Petroleum, an indigenous oil and gas exploration and production company, has sacked 10 of its workers who were assigned to work on the Sèmè oilfield, offshore the Republic of Benin.

The re-development of the field was said to have been suspended in June this year, following the inability of the company to achieve first oil on the field.

Pengassan_1The disengaged workers, supported by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, on Monday picketed the company’s head office in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Chairman, PENGASSAN, SAPETRO branch, Mr. Emmanuel Onuorah, told our correspondents that the workers were not told they were employed for the project but were hired as regular workers and seconded to work on the project to completion.

He said, “The restructuring exercise going on at SAPETRO, being done by PwC, was a different thing entirely from the project. It was when the project failed and the management decided in June this year to call it quits that they now mixed the two together. The restructuring was even supposed to increase our staff strength from 71 to 100.

“We drilled three wells – CSW-1, CS 4 and CS 5. When we started drilling, the reserves dropped from eight million barrels to five million barrels.”

Onuorah said oil of about 2,500 barrels per day was found in one of the wells, but it was very viscous.

“So, to flow it from the platform to onshore became difficult. Because of that, the company felt it did not have funds again and the project was suspended,” he added.

The Chairman, PENGASSAN, Lagos Zone, Mr. Abel Agarin, said members of the union decided to protest as result of the company’s refusal to renegotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the workers.

The Acting Managing Director, SAPETRO, Mr. Dan Oguche, while conveying the management’s response to the protest in a letter to the union, said, “Please refer to the meeting held between SAPETRO management and PENGASSAN today, September 14, 2015 and be advised as follows: SAPETRO will recall the 10 staff disengaged on August 31, 2015.

“A meeting between SAPETRO and PENGASSAN is proposed to take place on Friday, September 18, 2015 for 11am at the SAPETRO office in Lagos to continue discussions on the CBA, redundancy and the restructuring exercise.”



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