The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Petroleum Regulatory Agency in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry, has cancelled the operating licenses of NOV Oil and Gas Services Nigeria Limited and NOV Oilfield Solutions Limited because of their repeated violations of rules and regulations, including the release of employees in violation of Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry laws, and also because they have committed anti-labor infractions that amount to a disregard for due process (National Oilwell Varco).
A subsidiary of Houston, Texas-based NOV Incorporation, which has total assets of $20.21 billion and revenue of over $10 billion, is NOV Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited. The other is NOV Oilfield Solutions Limited. As part of the Total Egina project, which brought the business over a billion dollars in the last five years, NOV Nigeria has a long history of involvement. It is currently under contract with Nigerian IOCs.
There were severe sanctions imposed, such as the cancellation of licenses, against the company for its blatant disregard of Nigeria’s Constitution and Regulation 15A of the Petroleum Drilling Act (as amended), as well as other national and international labor laws, conventions, rules and regulations in 2019.
As of early 2021, the corporation had already paid a fine of $250,000 for the offense and had been assessed a further fine of $250,000 on September 29, 2021. This fine was to be paid by October 6, 2021 since the company actively flouted existing rules, regulations, and guidelines.
Recall that the National Oil and Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and regulatory body, as well as the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, have been engaged in a long-running conflict over anti-labor and anti-procedural activities in Nigeria.
To avoid redundancies in 2014, the DPR instructed the NOV Nigeria Management to implement a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and consult with the union before proceeding with them. However, the Management refused to do so and instead proceeded to terminate the employees’ employment. This was also the case in 2019, when 23 PENGASSAN members lost their jobs.
There have been several CBA conversations between management and PENGASSAN since June 2020, with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and the DPR intervening. This has resulted in the current industrial relations crisis and a violation of industry regulations after a CBA was reached on July 27, 2021 and signed by all parties involved, including PENGASSAN (the NOV Human Resources Manager in Nigeria) and DPR representatives. The only party who refused to sign the CBA/Minutes was offshore Management representative Mr. Francisco Cruz (the HR Director for Middle East/Africa).
PENGASSAN’s Lagos Zonal Chairman, Comrade Eyam Abeng, claimed that management had engaged in harassment, victimization, intimidation, and the dismissal of its employees without following the established protocols for the release of staff when he spoke about anti-labor practices..
“The NOV Management has followed this procedure in all of its operating countries. After two years of operations, they would tactically cut the number of employees to four or five while gradually offshoring all positions.
Redundancy or release of members is not opposed by the Union, but it must be done in accordance with the signed CBA and current industry rules in Nigeria. NOV Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited and NOV Oilfield Solutions Limited, as well as any other Nigerian oil and gas business, will no longer be able to offshort their jobs. This is a violation of the Nigerian Petroleum Act, which prohibits such conduct.
A lack of respect for due process, abuse of the legal system, as well as racial discrimination against its Nigerian employees are all well-known characteristics of NOV Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited and NOV Oilfield Solutions Limited NOV Management.