…As PENGASSAN threatens to shutdown ExxonMobil operations
By Udeme Akpan, Ediri Ejoh & Prince Okafor
Nigeria’s petroleum products refining capacity is set to rise by additional 150,000 bpd as the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NOAC, has concluded plans to construct a new plant in the nation.
The planned project is expected to increase the nation’s refining capacity from the current 445,000 barrels per day, bpd, to 595,000 bpd in 2020.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who disclosed this in Abuja after leading the oil firm’s management team to a meeting with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, on the new refinery was already being prepared to pave way for the execution and completion of the refinery.
The minister noted that the latest initiative would increase the company’s total investment in power and the refinery to over $15 billion, urging other multinationals operating in the country to emulate Agip.
He said: “We just finished a meeting with the Acting President and Agip. In the meeting, we dealt with the issue of Agip’s investment in Zabazaba Field and their cooperation with us in the repairs of Port Harcourt refinery.
“Following my meeting with Agip, we reached an agreement that Agip will build a brand new refinery of 150,000 barrels capacity, which will be located in Port Harcourt or Brass. They have accepted and are preparing an MoU along this line.
“The effect of this is that oil companies operating in Nigeria will begin to migrate from only exporting crude and begin to look at how to start refining this crude so that we will be able to meet our local consumption.
PENGASSAN threatens ExxonMobil operations
Meanwhile, workers of Mobil Producing Nigeria, MPN, an affiliate of ExxonMobil, yesterday, threatened to shut down the operations of the company as a result of alleged retrenchment and other issues.
The workers, under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, said they would start withdrawing members from all upstream locations, starting from yesterday’s midnight, to press home their demands.
PENGASSAN President, Francis Olabode Johnson, said: “We are giving them this first three days to reason and as Nigerians too, apart from being worker, we are also stakeholders and we know the impact of this in our economy.
“Before the end of Friday working hour, if nothing is done, by midnight we will shut the company’s operation.”
Reacting, Manager, Media and Communications, Mobil Producing Nigeria, Ogechukwu Udeagha, said: “We are in compliance with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act and other laws that govern utilization of expatriate employees.
“Our workforce is 95 percent Nigerian. Our company policy concerning employee conduct specifically prohibits the use of threats of harm or violence in the workplace. We remain committed to the safety of our personnel and security of our facilities.”
“Mobil is the highest producer of crude oil today. If this continues, over 600, 000 barrel per day of crude oil will be shutdown and that will impact on oil production which is on the region of 2million bbl/d and further drive down Nigeria production quota and revenue.
“The picketing was ongoing simultaneously at three locations, Lagos, Eket in Akwa Ibom State and Onne Rivers State. We can’t continue to take situation where organisations will disrespect constituted authorities in Nigeria.
‘’We schedule a meeting with the management of ExxonMobil in Lagos, my team was shut out of the meeting, we were not granted access to the venue.
“The meeting was supposed to be between ExxonMobil staff, National body of PENGASSAN, in-house Union and the management of PENGASSAN. We expect that the Federal Government stepped into this issue and arrest it, and call the company’s management to order. Let’s see how we can take care of this before it escalates to Total, Chevron, Agip Addax and the rest.’’
However, ExxonMobil said in an email statement last night: “The matters you raised have been the subject of several reports since December 2016. Our company’s policy concerning employees’ conduct specifically prohibits the use of threats of harm or violence in the workplace. We remain committed to the safety of our personnel and security of our facilities.’’