11, January 2017
Nigerian oil and gas workers have staged a walkout, claiming that they have not received payment. The industrial action on Tuesday affected at least 12 flow, compressor and pumping stations in the southern state of Delta. Workers said a closure of facilities was also possible in the coming hours.
All facilities affected were operated by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The strike could seriously affect Nigeria’s already battered oil production. The sector has been suffering from back-to-back attacks by militants of the Delta region.
Reports said the continued strike could also hit supplies to the Utorogu natural gas plant, one of the biggest in Nigeria. That could mean power shortages for domestic use. Worker representatives said they had informed NPDC officials of the action last week. They said they would not go back to work until their demands are met.
Nigeria, one of the leading oil producers in Africa, has lost nearly a third of its oil production over the past years, mainly due to militant attacks in Delta region. The militants want a fair share of oil income for the impoverished region, something the government has resisted in light of the slump in the global oil prices in the past few years. Abuja has managed to reach ceasefires with militants, but sporadic attacks have continued.
Nigeria has also been battling militants of the Takfiri group Boko Haram in its northern regions, further draining its oil-driven finances. Rampant corruption in the military and state institutions has seriously hampered government efforts for shoring up the economy.