Nigeria Oil Union Says Not Shutting Production Yet



IBADAN (Dow Jones Newswires), Jan. 10, 2012

Nigerian oil workers in the white-collar Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association, or Pengassan, are on strike but couldn't halt production all of a sudden, its President Babatunde Ogun said Tuesday.

Ogun told Dow Jones Newswires that there are stages to shutting down oil production, but "we haven't started those stages yet."

However, he said that if the government doesn't change its mind on the removal of fuel subsidies then the union may consider starting those stages, but said "the solution isn't stopping oil exports."

Earlier, Reverend Folorunso Oginni, chairman of the Lagos zone at Pengassan, told Dow Jones Newswires that "no option has been ruled out" on whether the union would take steps to disrupt production.

Other oil union leaders contacted by Dow Jones said the strike, now in its second day, were hampering their efforts to get to work.

Nigerian workers took to the streets Monday to begin a strike called by the Nigerian Labor Congress and the Trade Union Congress, to protest the removal of the subsidies. The price of gasoline has doubled since their removal.

The government has said there will be no going back as it could no longer sustain the NGN1.3 trillion a year it spends subsidizing gasoline used by Nigerians.

Nigeria, Africa's largest oil exporter that produces around 2 million barrels a day, earns more than 90% of its foreign exchange and 80% of government revenue from oil exports.

Trade sources said Tuesday that Nigeria's ongoing protests hadn't yet had any effect on the country's oil exports.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.



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