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Oil theft: Act now or we’ll withdraw our services, PENGASSAN warns FG

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) says its members are losing jobs over the prevailing oil theft bedevilling the country.

Festus Osifo, president, PENGASSAN, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at a press conference heralding its new advocacy programme themed “Chasing Oil Thieves and Vandals out of Business”.

The association’s programme would hold on Thursday in various zonal locations nationwide. 

According to him, the association would be forced to withdraw its workforce if there is no traceable progress.

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He urged the government to take immediate action on the menace. 

He expressed worry that Nigeria had been struggling to meet over 1.8 million barrels per day production quota of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) due to challenges occasioned by oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

According to Osifo, due to the challenges, a lot of oil companies were shutting down production and folding operations as they lacked sustenance and could not pay salaries.

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“Our members are losing jobs in the service companies. Agip has shut down productions, Addax petroleum shut down its OML 124 completely, Total OML 58 has challenges and shut too, while SPDC was one of the worst hit as of today,” he said. 

“This is the first time in years the crude oil price is hitting the roof and rising astrometrically and crossing hundred dollars per barrel in the international market.

“When you shut in a single barrel, you shut in a hundred dollars, when you shut in 10,000 barrels, you shut in 10,000 multiple by a hundred dollars.” 

According to Osifo, the association had earlier engaged the government — including captains of industry, security chiefs and agencies — proffering some solutions to curb the menace.

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Listing some recommendations, Osifo said PENGASSAN requested consequent management, advocating penalty for officials in charge.

He said the group also advocated the use of the latest technologies for pipeline surveillance and control room monitoring evolving globally — especially in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. 

According to him, PENGASSAN recommended that the three percent oil derivation shared by oil-producing communities be increased to five percent, while local chiefs should be empowered to monitor the channels before intended proactive measures.

He said it equally advised that security chiefs should hold the security officers sent to the creeks in Niger Delta accountable, and anyone who derails or compromises should be punished or sent to prison. 

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According to him, over time, the engagement has not yielded any fruit or results, rather the menace continued to bedevil the country.

“After the advocacy rally, our Central Working Committee will appraise the situation after one or two months, if there is no substantial or traceable progress made, the association may be forced to withdraw its workforce from productions,” he said. 

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“Government must wake up. We want to see tangible evidence and results. The rhetoric must stop. This is the time to practice the talks, government must develop muscle to tackle the menace.” 

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