20 August 2014, Lagos – The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has flayed the recent plot by some International Oil Companies (IOCs) to boycott the local content agenda of the Federal Government, through a plot to oust an indigenous company from a major gas maintenance project in Port Harcourt.
The oil workers, in a communique issued after an emergency meeting held recently, described the move by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and GE Oil and Gas to oust Arco Petrochemichal and Engineering Company Plc from the project jointly won with its partners (G.E) in 2006 as unfortunate.
ARCO (an indigenous firm) and Nuovo Pignone SpA (now General Electric International Operations Nigeria Limited) in 2006 jointly won the contract for Rotating Equipment Machines Maintenance Services at the Agip/NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) joint venture gas plants at OBOB/Kwale/Ebocha. Agip allegedly changed the contract terms after the approval of NNPC board and awarded the same contract to GE.
Agip has however allegedly been making moves to re-award the contract to Plantgeria Company Limited, a company NUPENG said was planning to reduce workforce by 60 per cent and cut salaries by 40 per cent.
The communique jointly signed by Zonal Chairman NUPENG Port Harcourt, Godwin Eruba and the Secretary, Lawrence Alabala, said: “NAOC should reverse the recently terminated service contracts in Lagos-Port Harcourt, OBOB/Ebocha/Kwale locations, which have prematurely rendered the workers jobless.
“Members condemned the insensitivity of the company (Agip) in her refusal to renew the workers collective agreement which expired since 2012. Congress called on Agip and her service contractors to immediately pay all the salary arrears ranging from one year to three months owed members in all the locations.”
The union also stated that “NAOC should as a matter of urgency respect the April 2014 litters from NAPIMS directing her to disscuss the Stop-Gap contract of turbine and related equipment maintenance in OBOB/Kwale/Ebocha with Arco.
“It was stated that the refusal of NAOC to obey this directive has posed a great threat to the jobs of our members in Arco who have contributed their quota to the economic growth of this country since the contractor mobilized to site in 2016.”
NUPENG however called on the government and all stakeholders to wade into the matter within 14 days of the resolution, which expires on 25th August, or face wrath of service withdrawal, which will affect upstream, downstream, tanker drivers and petrol stations.
The National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) in a letter made available to The Guardian and signed by the Group General Manager, NAPIMS, Jonathan Okehs, stated: “You are therefore guided to abstain from any award of a stop-gap contract to Plantgeria for NAOC maintenance services contract for gas turbine and related equipment for OBOB/Ebocha/Kwale gas plant because this will constitute an illegal contraption.
The union alleged that NAOC has continued to resist the directive that the contract should be awarded to Arco while making efforts to award it to a different Nigerian based Italian managed company, Plantgeria Co. Ltd claiming that Plantgeria has been selected as the winner of the new 4 + 1 maintenance contract of the gas plants in an inconclusive tender process.
– The Guardian