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Two Nigerian oil and gas industry unions today joined a general strike called by the Nigeria Labor Congress, which has placed fuel supply in the West African nation under threat, local media report.
Yesterday, the oil industry was thought to be spared such action, after a spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) told Reuters that the local oil industry had not been affected by the industrial action, and leaders of the two main oil workers’ unions said there hadn’t been any companies affected.
On Wednesday, NNPC Group Managing Director Maikanti Baru appealed to “motorists and other consumers of petroleum products across the country not to engage in panic buying of products over the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) planned industrial action.”
The nationwide strike in all sectors of Nigeria’s economy comes a few weeks after ExxonMobil warned at the beginning of this month that a six-week-long blockade of ExxonMobil’s offices and oil facilities in Nigeria by former workers protesting their dismissals threatens the normal production and exports of Nigeria’s flagship Qua Iboe crude grade.
The NLC called for the industrial action, arguing that the federal government of Nigeria had refused to reconvene a meeting of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee. Other union sources, however, said the committee had done its job and did not need reconvening but the government had not offered a minimum wage figure to the unions.
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In any case, there have been assurances from the oil workers’ union PENGASSAN that there will be no disruption in the operations of the oil industry. “We will manage the protest technically; there is nowhere in the world where you will abruptly stop oil production. It is a process. So, even if our members are joining, which is to respect the directive from our principals, it is something that must be done systematically,” PENGASSAN’s public relations officer told The Punch.
Nigeria’s crude oil production jumped by 74,000 bpd from its July level to average 1.725 million bpd in August, according to OPEC’s secondary sources. Exports for October are expected to hit a four-month high at 1.73 million bpd, as grades come back online following pipeline outages during the summer months.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.