Nigeria’s oil output may be at risk as offices and oil facilities belonging to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (Mobil) have been blocked by ex-workers of the company.
The workers have been on a six-week-long blockade to protest their dismissals, putting production and exports of the Qua Iboe, Nigeria’s largest crude oil grade under threat.
According to a statement released by the company on Monday, the workers are protesting the dismissal of 800 security personnel , also known as the Supernumerary Policemen.
The supreme court had ordered the reinstatement of about 860 employees sacked in 2000 by Mobil.
In an April 2018 judgement, the court also ordered the company to pay the staff all their due emoluments.
The workers claimed that they had been sacked without any severance pay and in breach of labor laws, and vowed to continue the protests until the laid-off workers are reinstated.
However, the company said the ex-personnel are third-party direct employees and were offered significant severance packages following an agreement by all parties.
Mobil said the protests continued even after the ministry of labour and employment served a notice on August 28 ordering all “acts of blockade of companies facilities to be discontinued immediately”.
“Continued denial of access to production facilities could impact the company’s ability to safely continue production operations for the JV (Joint Venture),” the statement read.
“Disruptions to these operations have the potential to significantly impact revenues accruing to the JV, Akwa Ibom State and the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Mobil runs a JV partnership (40:60) with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to produce the Qua Iboe crude grade from fields about 20 to 40 miles offshore Nigeria’s south eastern region, east of the Oso field.
Average production at the Qua Iboe terminal is 550,000 b/d of oil including crude, condensates and natural gas liquids (NGLs).
The Qua Iboe is a light sweet crude with very low levels of sulfur which is popular among refiners globally.