21 May 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has said it is in talks with the leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, with a view to urging them to call off their one day old strike.
The labour unions had on Wednesday directed employees of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, to shutdown indefinitely their locations and all oil production facilities nationwide in a bid to force the federal government to reverse the transfer of operatorship on the oil mining leases (OMLs) 42, 40 and 30.
According to the unions, the assets which were previously operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, were allegedly transferred in a manner that fell short of due process, claiming it would affect the fortunes of the NPDC and its workers.
But speaking to journalists yesterday, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, maintained that the process followed industry best practices as obtainable all over the world. He stated that the transaction is not an outright sale but a joint operatorship between the NPDC, which holds 55 per cent shares of the assets on behalf of the federal government, and the private companies which jointly hold 45 per cent stake in the assets.
Alegbe, who stressed that it was wrong to refer to the transaction as an outright sale, said, “It is a joint operatorship which is what is obtainable everywhere in the world as industry best practice. The NPDC holds 55 per cent share in the OMLs while the other companies hold 45 per cent.”
He also disclosed that the corporation engaged the labour unions all through the entire process of the operatorship transfer and wondered why the unions would take this drastic decision of shutting down production platforms to express any conceived grievance.
Alegbe also disclosed that the corporation had, last week, held a meeting with the labour unions where they pleaded with them to reconsider their decision to embark on strike but the plea failed to yield positive result.
However, he said that in order to resolve the present situation, the corporation is still in talks with the labour leaders and they are handling the issue as a matter of urgency.
He said, “We are meeting with them, we met with them last week not to go on strike but they still went ahead. However, we are handling the matter and talking to them to call off the strike. We hope to resolve the matter quickly.”
According to details of the now controversial transaction, Elcrest Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, a joint venture with Eland Oil and Gas Plc, was awarded the operatorship of OML 40 while Neconde Energy Limited and Shorline Natural resources Limited were equally awarded operatorship of OML 42 and 30 respectively.