Nigerian Oil Workers Strike Could Shut-in 700,000 B/D

IBADAN (Dow Jones Newswires), September 24, 2008

A local branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, or NUPENG, in Nigeria said Wednesday that about 700,000 barrels of oil a day produced by Chevron Nigeria Ltd., a local unit of U.S. oil major Chevron Corp., could be shut-in if the union launched a strike over labor issues.

Bernard Ugbi, NUPENG's assistant general secretary in the southern oil city of Warri, said Chevron has been given until Oct. 1 to resolve issues on union contractors working at all CNL locations in the country, and "a strike will begin if Chevron fails to settle the contract dispute by that date.

"The impact of the strike will be great, there will be a loss of 700,000 barrels a day produced by Chevron," Ugbi told Dow Jones.

He said NUPENG opposed the employment of its members as contractors, adding the 3,000-5,000 contracted staff were doing the same work as Chevron staff that qualified for pensions and other benefits, adding "we want the same for the contract workers.

"We have tabled our grievances before the Chevron management," Ugbi told Dow Jones Newswires. "As at now, there is no word from Chevron."

Ugbi said NUPENG at the national level will join a strike launched by the Warri chapter of the union.

"We are expecting an invitation from Chevron to discuss the issues," but NUPENG will begin a strike if the issues remained unresolved by Oct. 1, he said.

A Chevron spokesman in Nigeria contacted by Dow Jones declined to comment.

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