The ongoing strike by Senior Nigerian Employees of French oil firm, Total E & P Nigeria may lead to disruption of the company’s oil production as the Union has threatened to extend its strike to production locations.
Sources informed The Tide that the French oil firm is currently engaged in a “fierce battle” with senior Nigerian employees of the company which is now threatening the company’s crude oil production of over 200,000 barrels per day
Already, the company’s personnel who are members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have forcefully shut down offices in their Port Harcourt headquarters and Lagos annex.
The Tide learnt that the shutdown has affected power supplies to critical areas as well as communication links to operational sites of the oil company.
Although a source at Total said the strike was yet to disrupt oil production, but revealed that if the situation was not urgently resolved, the union was poised to extend the strike to the company’s oil production locations.
It was gathered that the cause of the crisis is the implementation of Total’s group projects in IST and finance divisions of the company, which the union believed would lead to job cuts.
The company however described the union’s strike as “illegal” and noted that the committees constituted were supposed to commence work this week.
A statement signed by the External Relations Manager, Charles Ebereonwu said the firm was ready for negotiation on the global implementation of the Total Group’s projects in IST and Finance Division of the company.
According to him,” Management is disposed and willing to dialogue on the specific areas of concern as raised by the Association.
Ebereonwu reassured that the implementation of these Group projects would not entail job loss to any member of the Association but regretted that PENGASSAN had not only directed the stoppage of work in all office locations of the company, “it has also deliberately blocked all channels of communication with management and as such no progress can be made.
” The action has forced the company into a downgraded situation “with potential loss of value to all stakeholders”, he said.
Total is Nigeria’s fourth biggest oil production company.The French firm is hoping to bring on stream later this year, the giant Egina deep water oil field that will add 200,000 b/d of oil to Nigeria’s production.
Union officials were not immediately available for comment
Group Lauds FG Over Planned Repositioning Of NDDC
A group known as Patriotic Forum of Niger Delta (PAFOND) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his plans to reposition the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to live up to its statutory mandate of developing the Niger Delta region.
The commendation was part of a communiqué issued at the End of Year general meetings of the forum in Port Harcourt, and made available to The Tide.
The communiqué which was signed by the National chairman of the forum, comrade Owo Udoh, and the National Secretary, Comrade Daniel Wilson, stated that the Niger Delta had continued to suffer development neglect despite its huge to the Nigeria economy.
The forum urged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to commence the construction of roads in the Niger Delta and embark on other projects that will create meaningful impact on the lives of the people.
The group also called on other Niger Delta indigenes serving in the Buhari government,, particularly the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, to attract development projects to the Niger Delta.
The forum called on the governors of the Niger Delta states to channel the resources of the states for proper economic development of the region.
The group which expressed regrets over the, “infrastructural decay” in the Niger Delta, said development potentials in the oil rich region can be properly harnessed if the budgetary allocations for the development of the region are not diverted into personal coffers.
Expert Tasks Oil Firms On MoUs Implementation
The brewing conflicts between oil companies and their host communities in the Niger Delta over a breach of agreements signed by the corporate partners have generated concerns among stakeholders.
Worried by the increasing spate of disagreement between oil firms and their host communities, an expert in the oil and gas sector, Dr Eddie Wikina, has called on all multinationals and corporate organisations operating in the Niger Delta to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed with their host communities.
Wikina who spoke with The Tide in an exclusive interview recently, said the flouting of MoUs and the absence of sustainable community development policies among various oil firms and corporate organisations were the root causes of underdevelopment and conflicts in the Niger Delta.
He pointed out that; “modern industry practices require that both the oil firms and the host communities operate in mutual agreement and synergy through a well community engagement model that would be subject to upward reviews to suit evolving developments to avert crisis.”
He noted that oil related conflict has been a predominant feature of the Niger Delta over the years and urged prospecting oil firms and other corporate organisations in the region to learn from the experiences of the past and improve their host community relations by contributing meaningfully to the development of their host communities.
The expert in Petroleum Engineering said host communities were major stakeholders in the oil and gas business, noting that their active participation in the sector was an elixir to smooth business operation According to him, “it’s certain that that business activities can’t strive in an environment where there is mutual disagreement and incessant conflicts; global standards in oil and gas business require that host communities be given their due sense of belonging to promote peace and development.
The business concern must be accommodative of the development interest of the host communities, any company that glosses over the interest of its host communities is bound to face challenges.”
Wikina cautioned against the influx of substandard oil firms in the Niger Delta and called on the Federal Government to enact laws that will compel multinationals to implement all agreements signed with their host communities.
“Not all companies that prospect for oil in the Niger Delta has the capacity for effective business operation, some of them don’t have the industry experience and lack the potency to make the right impact”, he said.
He said the implantation of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would address the inherent challenges in the oil and gas sector, especially in the development of oil and gas producing communities.
DisCos Studying Modalities Of NERC’s Directive On Cashless Payment –ANED
The Association of Nigeria Energy Distributors (ANED) says distribution companies are studying the modalities of the directive issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on cashless payment by customers.
Chairman, ANED, Mr Sunday Oduntan stated this on Friday in Lagos.
NERC had on December 31, 2019 directed the 11 DisCos to transit to cashless settlement platforms for the billing/collection of industrial and commercial customers by Jan. 31, 2020.
It also directed the Discos to transit to cashless settlement platforms for the billing/collection of the R3 class of residential customers by March 31.
The NERC said that Discos should leverage available banking channels approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria in complying with the directive.
It said that failure by DisCos to comply with the order would be treated as a breach of the terms and conditions of the distribution licence.
The commission said the move was expected to reduce the collection leakages being experienced in the sector.
Oduntan said that ANED was in support of any idea that would improve services between the layers in the power sector, noting that there was, however, need to examine the modalities concerning its implementation.
“We are studying the modalities of the directive. In principle, we support any idea that will reduce cash transactions; so, to us it is a good idea, especially for security purposes.
“But we also have to look at our customers across the country, especially those in the rural areas. Some of them don’t have bank accounts, don’t do internet banking and some even have cooperatives who collect these cash from them to help them make payments.
“So, we have to look at how we can factor them in and that is why we are yet to come out with our position.”
Oduntan said ANED had channels of communication with NERC and would not hesitate to sit down with the regulatory agency to sort out the grey areas.
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