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Nigeria: Expatriates Take Over Sacked Local Workers’ Jobs in Shell

Daily Independent (Lagos)

Bassey Udo

17 March 2009

The management of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the upstream exploration and production subsidiary of the Shell Group in Nigeria, may have deployed its expatriate staff o take over the jobs vacated by their Nigerian counterparts sacked last week in the wake of the ongoing staff rationalization exercise.

Last week, no fewer than 1,500 workers, consisting both regular staff and contract hands working for all affiliates of the group from its locations in Port Harcourt, Warri, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, were served letters terminating their appointments.

The latest rationalization exercise, which is the second in the series in recent times, is said to be part of the company’s strategy to survive the negative impact of the global economic situation on its operations.

But, Daily Independent gathered on Monday in Lagos that most of the jobs left by the sacked Nigerian workers have since been taken over by expatriates that have either been reassigned from within Nigeria or deployed from other Shell operational locations around the world.

A reliable source close to the company said where there are not enough personnel to carry on with the duties of the office of the sacked Nigerians; such a department is collapsed and brought under the supervision of the immediate available expatriate for supervision.

The source, who pleaded anonymity, said “The expatriates have taken over virtually every job left behind. For every three regular Nigerian staff that have so far been sacked, there is at least one expatriate in the company to take over his job. The situation cuts across all the departments and operational divisions of the company. Even those staff that are left are unsure of their fate under the rationalization exercise.”

Shell, which accounts for more than half of Nigeria’s total oil output, has been the butt of armed militants’ attacks in the Niger Delta since late 2005 when the youths in the region launched a campaign aimed at forcing multinational oil companies to abandon further oil exploitation and production and vacate the region.

Apart from Nigeria’s compliance with recent directives by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to its members to cut back on their output, a development that has negatively impacted its production capacity, Shell’s oil production has consistently declined by more 25 percent as result of decisions to shut in operations from producing fields prone to militant attacks.

Recently, the company was forced to declare a force majeure on scheduled crude oil exports from its two export terminal in Bonny and Forcados following attacks by irate Niger Delta youths who are demanding increased involvement and development as well as equitable allocation of the proceeds from the exploitation of the oil resources from the area.


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