Port Harcourt – Contractors working for Belemaoil Producing Limited, BPL – operator of the Oil Mining Lease, OML, 55 – are tackling the indigenous oil and gas company over non-payment for executed contracts.
The contractors last week barricaded the entrance of the company’s corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt to press home their demand.
The aggrieved contractors, with banners and placards, took over the entrance gate of the company, stopping human and vehicular movement to and from the office along Odili Road axis of Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt.
The leader of the protesters, Me Brown Aboyi, said some of the contractors had been owed since 2018 while others have not been paid since 2012.
Aboyi, who described as disheartening the failure to clear debts owed the contracting firms for years, said the development was a mark of neglect by the indigenous oil company.
According to him: “We do lubricants and we do chemical supplies and applications to Belemaoil. For a long while now, some as far back as 2012, some others around 2018 till date, Belemaoil has been owing us.
“Majority of the people you see here have outstanding payment since 2018. I have one since 2018 February. I have another one since July last year, jobs that have been done. We have continued to service and do inspection but till today, we have not received payment.
“Before you’re engaged by Belemaoil, the stipulated time that you will be paid for the service order is 60 days, which means they pay every 60 days.
“But as I speak, some have gone over 700 days, some 1,000 days and above, still no payment. Their sister company, J+J Global, that does most of the procurement for Belemaoil is also owing people since 2012.”
Aboyi expressed sadness that contractors were being treated with neglect by an indigenous firm, stating that Belemaoil has shown incompetence in the sector.
“It is discouraging knowing that Belemaoil is an indigenous company. We felt the local content stuff is really gaining ground, especially for a company like Belemaoil, an oil producing company, not even an oil servicing company.
“When they invited us to work here, we felt this was our own, so let’s support their operations, and we were patient with them, but, over time, they have proven to be insensitive and incompetent.
“The Manager has talked to us earlier that they will start payment, but till today, we have not heard from them. We have lost confidence in them.”
Meanwhile, the management of Belemaoil Producing Limited is yet to respond to the protest and the issues raised by the aggrieved contractors.