Members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have resorted to a protest to decry the appalling practice of oil theft In the Niger Delta. The oil workers have threatened strike action if the government fails to control the menace.
Workers with the association are carrying out rallies in Abuja, Warri, Kaduna, and Lagos, this Thursday to send a signal to the government on the need to stop oil vandalism, according to Reuters.
PENGASSAN blamed soldiers and other security agents protecting the pipelines for the booming organized theft of crude in the Niger Delta, stating that the practice is causing several companies to shut down and has an implication for their job.
The Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had previously stated that the theft had forced at least 700 “lock-ins” of oil production, resulting in an export reduction of 700,000 bpd.
Nigerian authorities have also stated that the crude oil theft from the country’s network of pipelines cost the country about a billion dollars in the first quarter of 2022.
What the association is saying
The President, PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo stated that the activities of these vandals are seriously weighing on the operation of oil companies. He said:
“International oil companies such as Agip, Total, Shell, and Addax, had stopped oil production in some wells due to the theft, as the jobs of workers in these firms were currently threatened.”
“If after this rally there is no traceable progress, as an association, we may be forced to withdraw our workforce from the operating companies, because we cannot continuously send crude oil into the pipelines and at the end of the day the pipelines are vandalized by people who don’t know how the oil was produced.”
Festus Osifo also revealed that the lives of its members are even at risk. He stated that when members stop production into pipelines, some of these pipeline vandals call and threaten them, asking why they stopped production into the line and that they should open the line.
Osifo stressed that the tapping of pipelines is very organized as the methods of oil theft were too sophisticated for common criminals, and demanded that security services tackle collusion within their ranks.