Shell, Chevron recall expatriate Nigerians

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NOVEMBER 28, 2016 – Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil have resorted to repatriation of experts of Nigeria origin from outside missions, as skilled gap buoyed by mass sack of staff began to threaten their operations. According to Telegraph, the move was to cover for the dearth of skilled staff sacked during the on-going right sizing by the companies.

Inventory from 12 major oil producers and traders revealed that 350,000 workers had lost their jobs, adding that the gloomy situation will persist, as “market will stay in the corridor of $40 to $50, max $55 per barrel price.”

Workers in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry had earlier resorted to spiritual help, as job cuts by international oil companies (IOCs) and their local counterparts in their global services hit an alltime high of 350,000 last September.

The gale of sack commenced in 2014 till when crude prices started to fall till date. “This scheme to get skilled staff of Nigeria origin is also being executed to accommodate the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content (NOGIC) Act provision on Expatriates quota,” a source at Chevron told this newspaper yesterday.

A management staff of Shell in one of the African countries added that his plan to secure transfer to Nigeria was blocked by the repatriation process.

“I prefer to work in Nigeria, I have even begun a process of my transfer to Nigeria, but this was blocked by The Hague because staff of Nigeria origin working for Shell abroad were recalled to fill in the gap created by the right sizing,”he said after his anonymity had been guaranteed.

Oil companies, especially explorers, slashed hundreds of billions of dollars in investment to weather the rout, but the majority of oil traders reported the mass job loss using the inventory, according to Bloomberg.

It said that market re-balancing has been pushed back by at least six months from their projections in early 2016 because of higher-than-expected production from Iran and Saudi Arabia, coupled with the resilience of U.S. shale output.

“The oil market is not yet balanced,” Saad Rahim, chief economist at oil trading house, Trafigura Group Pte, said, adding that the “market has yet to start working through millions of barrels of inventories accumulated during the downturn.”

Checks by this newspaper showed that over 4,000 skilled and 6,000 unskilled workers were affected in Nigeria. Local oil firms in production and servicing strata of the industry have retrenched employees albeit on a smaller scale.

Further checks show that more workers are likely to be sacked in the coming days, as the harsh conditions in the country show no signs of abating. Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) Unlimited, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation MPN/NNPC Joint Venture in Akwa Ibom laid off about 150 contract staff and 40 drivers from its employ, while Total fired 100 in its Nigerian operations. Over 4,000 Nigerians in the oil and gas industry lost their jobs in the last 18 months.

A survey by this newspaper showed that while about 75 per cent of these oil workers were former staff in the operations of the IOCs, the indigenous firms sacked about 1,000 staff, which is the remaining 25 per cent. In total, the number of sacked workers is 16.4 per cent of the total number of staff on sack list by just two oil giants, Shell and Chevron, in their global operations.

Oil giant, Shell, had on May 23, declared plans to sack additional 5,000 staff, raising the number of staff to be laid off in Nigeria and other countries of operations by the company and another oil major, Chevron, to 23,500.

These had heightened panic and generated confusion among some staff of the companies who are now considering industrial action.

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