The already jittery oil price has risen even further after Nigeria’s powerful oil unions began a strike yesterday at the state-owned oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company as well as the Petroleum Ministry.

They are also threatening to target exports in hopes of reversing the sale of government refineries. The unions allege outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government has sold state-owned refineries without taking the welfare of workers into consideration. The government denies the accusation.

Both blue-collar and white-collar unions said members working for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. and the petroleum ministry have walked off the job indefinitely.

“Our strike has begun and we won’t rule out shutting exports,” said Peter Akpatason, the leader of one of the two unions, which claim tens of thousands of members.