Working in the oil sector in Nigeria is dangerous and rough, the Permian Basin International Oil Show President, Larry Richards, of Odessa, has said.
YahooNews reported on Sunday that Richards, who gave this advice, had worked in Nigeria in the early 1990s and kept up with the scene since then.
“Nigeria is the wild, wild West of the oil industry,” Richards was quoted as saying.
“In my opinion, it’s historically the most corrupt and dangerous place that it’s legal for United States companies to operate in.”
Richards worked for a company that sold all the oil pipeline pumps to the Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria.
“There were better technology quintuplex pumps for the application, but they bought old 1950s-designed cast iron duplex pumps simply because they were impossible to destroy unless you literally put explosives in the pump case,” he said.
“The military factions fighting the government could shoot or even bomb those old cast iron units and nine times out of 10 they’d keep right on slowly moving oil down the pipeline.”
Supervising EMSCO’s parts and field service departments, he said field service techs were sent out once a year to evaluate the equipment in the field.
Richards said, “Security folks met us at the airport with passwords because the bad guys would whack a security guy in the parking lot, take his hat, badge and your name card and meet unsuspecting US travelers in the airport. Talk about the start of a bad day!
“Over a three-year period, two of my service techs had guns put to their heads at so-called military checkpoints and one had the muzzle of an AK-47 put in his mouth after he refused to give them his cash.”
Richards subsequently applied those lessons to his own businesses by “making it a point never to send a man or woman somewhere I wouldn’t go myself,” he said.
He added, “As both my companies had a startup and service element to them, that means I haven’t done a project in Nigeria in 20 years.
“I’ve been in the field in Angola, Venezuela, Libya, Kuwait, Colombia and a slew of other rough places, but Nigeria is unique in its business challenges.”
Nigeria’s oil production crashed to about 900,000 barrels per day in Abuja, which was the lowest in several years, following activities of sophisticated vandals who steal the country’s crude.
Article first published on the Punch Website