…Calls for special force against oil theft
Mkpoikana Udoma 24 September 2015, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has expressed worry over Federal Government’s irregular contribution to the Joint Venture, JV, funding with the multi-national oil companies.
PENGASSAN President, Comrade Francis Olabode-Johnson, said non-payment of joint venture cash call by the government has forced operators to scale down on the spectrum of exploration and production operations by embarking on downsizing and redundancy of workers to cut cost, thereby increasing the unemployment situation in the country.
Johnson made the call during the 4th triennial delegates’ conference of PENGASSAN, Shell Branch, in Port Harcourt, with the theme: ‘Building an Industrial Relations Community in a Challenging Global Economic Downturn’.
He explained that the Federal Government has been defaulting in the payment of counterpart funding for company operations and that the Joint Ventures were owed billions of dollars in cash call arrears.
“As workers in the industry and Nigerians, we call on the government to evolve means of urgent process of clearing cash call arrears by paying the debts owed the IOCs, as it was done on subsidy for petroleum marketers.
“Going forward, the government should also endeavour to put in process funding of the JV operations to enable the pursuit of exploration opportunities, expanding operations in the oil and gas industry as well as increase government revenue leading to more employment opportunities for Nigerians,” Johnson said.
The PENGASSAN president also expressed worry on the level of oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the country, and called on the Federal Government to establish a special taskforce for the protection of pipelines and other oil installations in the country.
He urged government to ensure sound pipeline integrity to pave way for safe transportation of crude and other petroleum products across the country.
Explaining that it was necessary for the Federal Government to provide adequate security for the nation’s oil facilities, the PENGASSAN president stated that security agencies should be empowered to ensure regular surveillance of the pipelines to arrest activities of vandals.