.As firm moves to escape N2.0bn compensation

By Udeme Akpan

THE Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, has directed Energia Limited, a major indigenous oil and gas producing company, to pay N900 million to sacked workers in order to escape a court-driven compensation valued at N2.0 billion.

Giving the matching order, DPR, which has the mandate to issue licences and permits as well as monitor and sanction culprits in the oil and gas  industry said that Energia should comply on or before September 12, 2018.

The  order, it was gathered, became expedient because of the manner in which the company fired its former workers without adequate compensation.

The company which was awarded the Ebendo/Obodeti marginal oil field in the 2003 Federal Government/Department of Petroleum Resources marginal field round, recently sacked 37 management staff, a development which caused the workers to take their case to DPR.

Managing Director, Energia Limited Mr. Leste Aihevba, did not respond when contacted to comment on the allegation made against the company.

But a source in the company who preferred not to be named said: “We are aware of the directive and are currently working to comply.”

He said the N900 million requested to be paid was far less than N2.0 billion if the court option was followed to the end.

Vanguard had exclusively reported that the personnel were fired, barely three months after its former Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Felix Amieyeofori was made to resign or retire in March, 2018, indicating that all is not well with the company.

Spokesman of DPR, Mr. Paul Osu, had indicated in an email to Vanguard that: “A petition was received from some staff of Energia regarding their disengagement from the services of the company on claims of redundancy.

“In line with our statutory regulatory oversight of the oil and gas sector, DPR has requested Energia to respond to allegations by the petitioners within two weeks of receipt.”

However, investigations by Vanguard showed that before now, many indigenous companies that do not have unions to fight for workers were very comfortable.

But with the latest case, they were said to be scared, especially as DPR is resolute to watch closely developments in the companies, targeted at ensuring that the indigenous operators, including Oriental, Midwestern, Walter Smith, Niger-Delta Petroleum, Green Energy/Lekoil, Network E&P, Platform, Pillar Oil, Prime Energy, Excel E&P, Frontier Oil, Suntrust, Oando and Energia Limited comply with set standards and guidelines.

Consequently, this is expected to enable the government achieve set objectives, especially increased indigenous participation, local content and capacity-building in the industry, previously dominated by International Oil Companies, IOCs.


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