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Unclear Policy Environment Behind Job Losses

Unstable policies and programmes in the Nigerian petroleum industry are mainly responsible for uncertainties that aggravate mass job cuts in the sector.

Industry labour chieftain, Mr. Hyginus Onuegbu, who spoke in Port Harcourt stated that the massive job cuts in the industry is partly a spin off from fiscal and policy disputes that stalled running industry programmes and led to prot5racted loss of activity in the industry.

He said job losses in the sector are worsened by the existing challenges in the industry that are yet to be addressed by the government and stakeholders.

He listed the challenges to include Nigeria’s inability to make needed reforms, especially the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), diversification of the economy and stoppage of crude oil theft.

He also highlighted some operational challenges in the environment to include unabated pipeline vandalism, illegal crude oil diversion; insecurity and kidnapping that significantly increase in the cost of doing business.

In addition, he said that the federal government’s inability or refusal to fund the joint venture budgets and expenditure also stalls ongoing oil and gas operations which results in huge cash call arrears.

In giving a global picture of revenue adversity that has beset the industry, he said the continued fall in oil price had led to the reduction in exploration and production activities globally, thereby necessitating cost-cutting measures as the massive job cuts being embarked upon in Nigeria and other countries.

According to him, Nigeria’s oil and gas companies has cut about 120,000 direct and indirect jobs to date following dwindling oil prices that affected the expected revenue of Nigerian oil companies as revealed by their third quarter reports.

The report reflects that low oil prices, will likely continue up until 2019. “The sector and the economy has seen unprecedented number of job losses, as companies and organizations struggle to keep afloat in the midst of pressures from international crude oil price.

Schlumberger SLB axed more than 20,000 oilfield service workers; Halliburton cut 18,000 jobs; Weatherford International, 14,000; and Baker Hughes BHI, 13,000; with Royal Dutch Shell laying off 7,000 workers.

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