The persistent weakness in the price of crude oil in the international market has raised the prospect of massive job losses in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Oil prices have fallen in the last few days to their lowest levels since 2003, trading around $27 per barrel last week, before rallying to about $32.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers had on Friday last week warned Chevron and Shell against sacking oil workers in Nigeria.
The NUPENG, in a statement signed by its National President, Dr. Igwe Achese, said it was worried and concerned about the purported threat to sack about 18,500 workers globally in Chevron and Shell.
“It is a sacking too many, as oil workers in Chevron Nigeria and Shell will be affected,” the union said.
The Chairman, Nigerdock Nigeria Plc and the Jagal Group, Mr. Anwar Jamarkani, at the load-out and sail-away ceremony of a gas project at the weekend, lamented the lack of new projects in the industry, saying some projects had been deferred by producers.
“We are witnesses to what is going on in some of the largest companies in Korea, who are leaders in international fabrication – HHI, Samsung and Daewoo. All of them have lost money and are about to lose their shares. Yet, they have work orders for 10 years forward. I don’t have orders for six months.
“I have 1,000 people out there and I have to stand before them and tell them where their future is.”
Jamarkani said, “We spend N1m every morning on fuel. It is not our business to invest $50m in power generation; we had to do it. This facility is unequalled in Africa. To sustain this facility, we need $33m a year to close the doors.
“My management and I have to face our workforce and tell them: where do we go from here? What happens to them? How are we going to sustain their employment?”
The Nigerdock chairman, said, “Over the years, we have invested millions of man hours in the training capacity, professional skills development and welfare of our workforce. We have not done enough; we need to do more. We are, therefore, concerned that projects that were originally scheduled for commencement are now being shelved to the detriment of companies like ours.
“With no new projects on the horizon, companies may be forced to shut down and workers sent home. It is not our intention to send any more of our workers home,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer, Shoreline Group, a Nigerian oil producer, Mr. Kola Karim, told Bloomberg last week that the firm planned to cut 35 per cent (about 700) of its nearly 2,000 members of staff to survive the “tough” conditions.