Nigeria braces itself for Oil Unions Strike
In a statement released on Monday, 15th of December, 2014, representatives of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) confirmed that the unions will be proceeding on an indefinite strike with the aim of shutting down oil exports from the West African Nation.
In a statement by Emmanuel Ojugbana, spokesperson of PENGASSAN, he confirmed that the country will soon begin to notice shutdown of oil flow. Our correspondents in the capital city, Abuja, were unable to get comments from spokesperson of the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Ohi Alegbe.
At this critical period, it is noted that any diminution in pumping of crude oil would clash with the already sliding price of Nigeria’s biggest source of revenue, which accounts for over 85% of it’s export revenue. Brent crude oil plunged by 44% this year only rising by 2.3% today t $63.25 a barrel. According to estimates from the deutsche Bank, Nigeria needs about double the current price to balance its budget.
However, director at the New York based Eurasia Group, Philippe de Pontet does not believe that the strike would have any particular bearing on the sale of crude or the economy generally. He was quoted saying, “We do not expect the strike to have a material impact on Nigeria’s oil production, certainly not in the early days. The unions are taking advantage of the political climate ahead of the general elections in February to maximize their negotiating leverage on a set of unrelated matters.”
However, figures compiled by Bloomberg confirm that Nigeria’s crude oil output declined by almost 3.2% the last time NUPENG and PENGASSAN went on strike sometime in September. Nigeria pumped an estimated 2.3 million barrels of crude oil a day last year, 26% of Africa’s total output according to BP.
The Unions disagree as they insist that the strike is to protest the government’s failure to fix refineries, cut gasoline prices in line with the falling crude prices and also passage of the much delayed Petroleum Industry Bill. They want the government to address these issues and also curb pipeline sabotage and certain ‘unfair labour practices” by producers.
No statement is yet to be issued by the government at this time and Union leaders have expressed an indefatigable commitment to proceed with the strike.