Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) is moving its entire headquarters operations presently located at C&C Towers in Victoria Island, Lagos to Port Harcourt with immediate effect. The movement involves over 400 staff and would be completed by the end of November.
Authoritative company sources told The Nation on Sunday that the decision to fast-track the relocation is causing considerable unease within the company. It was the single item issue that came up for discussion at the NLNG board meeting which held in Dubai last week.
The board was reportedly divided over the wisdom of the sudden relocation. However, the Presidency is said to have come down on the side of those backing the movement. Originally, the transfer was to be effected in phases, with the process concluding in 2013.
The movement is part of the company’s measures to save costs, ensure greater efficiency by moving operations to the region where the NLNG plants are located. The company operates six liquefaction units (LNG trains) on Bonny Island in Rivers State where it produces 22 million metric tonnes of LNG per year - roughly 10% of the world’s consumption.
Staff opposed to the move – many of whom have resided in Lagos for very long - are said to be worried about the disruption of family life that the relocation would cause. Others are said to be afraid that their career prospects could be adversely affected by the movement to Port Harcourt. There are issues of job alignment between staff holding parallel positions in Lagos and Bonny.
Such is the level of anger and disquiet that the planned relocation causing that some senior management staff are said to threatening legal actions and, in some instances, resigning from the company altogether.
A senior manager who spoke to The Nation on Sunday anonymously said: "A lot of people are not happy with the way the matter is being handled by a select few. It is against the established practice and tradition in the company." A staff briefing is expected to be carried out shortly by NLNG management to inform workers on the modalities of the movement.
The movement which would be a boost for the Rivers State economy would affect Lagos State negatively as she stands to lose millions in corporate taxes paid by NLNG to the state government.
Nigeria LNG Limited was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1989, to produce LNG and natural gas liquids for export. It is jointly owned by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) 49%, Shell Gas B.V. 25.6%, Total LNG Nigeria Ltd 15% and Eni International 10.4%.
In recent years the company has been trailed by controversies over bribes of $180 million allegedly paid by the TSKJ consortium of engineering companies to Nigerian federal government officials between 1994 and 2004 to obtain contracts worth more than $6 billion for building the LNG facilities.
Courtesy, The Nation Newspaper