Nigerian Oil Platforms Placed On Red Alert

January 13, 2012
Nigeria’s biggest oil workers’ union has said it is putting oil platforms on red alert in preparation for shutting down output from Africa’s largest producer, as part of a nationwide protest against the axing of a popular fuel subsidy.

Nigeria exports more than 2-million barrels of crude oil a day and is a key supplier of the US and Europe. Concern about Nigerian supply can move global prices.

"Now that the federal government has decided to be callous-minded, we hereby direct all production platforms to be on red alert in preparation for total production shutdown," the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association said yesterday.

The union is threatening to shut down production and close export terminals. "That will mark the beginning of the next phase of the protest against the removal of the fuel subsidy and it will be very disastrous for the country," said Chika Onuegbu, the union’s industrial relations officer.

Oil output has been unaffected so far by the general strike that began on Monday.

Oil industry officials said a complete halt to exports was unlikely because processes were automated and some workers were non-unionised.

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