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Nigeria Oil Union on Strike at Exxon Mobil Unit

Nigerian workers at Exxon Mobil Corp.’s local unit have begun an “indefinite strike” to protest the firing of members and the high number of expatriate employees, a union leader said.

“No work is going on at the company’s headquarters in Lagos and its operational base in Eket,” Jude Nwaogu, chairman of the company’s branch of the Pengassan union, said by phone today from the southeastern town of Eket. “If management allows this strike to degenerate, we shall pull out our members from the oil platforms and stop oil loading at the terminal.”

An official who answered the phone at Exxon Mobil’s Nigerian office said no one was available to comment.

Exxon Mobil holds a 40 percent stake in a joint venture it operates for state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. The venture produces 720,000 barrels a day of crude, condensate and natural gas liquids from 90 offshore platforms, according to its website. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest crude producer and the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports.

Expatriates hold 13 percent of management positions in Exxon Mobil’s local unit, more than the 5 percent stipulated by Nigerian law, the Pengassan union said.

A law signed by President Goodluck Jonathan in April specifies oil and gas industry jobs and services that must be reserved for Nigerians.

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