French oil firm Total is currently engaged in a “fierce battle” with senior Nigerian employees of the company which is now threatening the company’s crude oil production of over 200,000 barrels per day, TheCable Petrobarometer understands.
Already, the company’s personnel who are members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have forcefully shut down offices in their Port Harcourt headquarters and Lagos annex.
The shutdown has affected power supplies to critical areas as well as communication links to operational sites.
Although a spokesman for Total said the strike was yet to disrupt oil production, sources told TheCable Petrobarometer that if the situation was not urgently resolved, the union was poised to extend the strike to the company’s oil production locations.
At the heart of the industry crisis is the implementation of Total’s group projects in IST and finance divisions of the company, which the union believed would lead to job cuts.
The company has described the union’s strike as “illegal”.
In a statement, Total said PENGASSAN had not only directed the stoppage of work in all office locations of the company, “it has also deliberately blocked all channels of communication with management and as such no progress can be made”.
The action, it said, has forced the company into a downgraded situation “with potential loss of value to all stakeholders”.
Union officials were not immediately available for comment.
The company spokesman said talks were ongoing between management and the workers’ union to resolve the crisis.
Total is Nigeria’s fourth biggest oil production company.
The French firm is hoping to bring on stream later this year, the giant Egina deep water oil field that will add 200,000 b/d of oil to Nigeria’s production.