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Nigerian Oil Union opposes Chevron’s sale

BusinessDay

Nigerian oil union has insisted that it will resist Chevron Corp.’s sale of its fuel-marketing business in the West African nation, further deepening a labor dispute.

It would be recalled that union members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria have been on strike at Chevron’s downstream headquarters in Lagos for about two weeks. The industrial action, however, has not affected production from oil and gas fields.

Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, announced on September 19 it had agreed to sell Chevron Oil Nigeria Plc to Corlay Global SA, a Panamanian company owned by MRS Holdings Ltd. and Petrochi Holdings, for an undisclosed sum. The subsidiary operates a fuel retail business in Nigeria under the Texaco brand.

We still have labor-related issues outstanding, and until we settle that, they can’t sell,” Babatunde Ogun, president of the union also known as Pengassan, said in a telephone interview in Lagos last friday adding: Whoever is buying is on his own.”

Lloyd Avram, a Chevron spokesman at the company’s San Ramon, California headquarters, said negotiations are ongoing in an e-mail sent late yesterday, but declined to comment further on the dispute.

Pengassan wants Chevron to compensate workers in the marketing company with 30 percent of the proceeds of the sale of its 60 percent majority stake.

 

The workers are currently on strike to press their demands,” Ogun said. Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, a Nigerian company that holds a minority stake in Chevron Oil Nigeria, is also challenging Chevron’s divestment plans in court. The case is scheduled to continue at a Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, tomorrow.

The sale is in line with Chevron’s efforts to realign the company’s downstream operations and won’t affect its upstream investment oil and gas production in Nigeria, the U.S. company said when it announced the sale.

Chevron later announced, on September 22, that it would sell also subsidiaries in Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast and Togo.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country of 140 million people, has the continent’s biggest hydrocarbon reserves. A spate of militant attacks earlier this month has interrupted production at some oil fields operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other foreign companies.

 

 

 

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