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Brazilian Oil Giant Braces For Strikes Ahead Of $50 Billion Auction

Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras, is about to get hit with a general strike action from a group representing no fewer than 12 oil worker unions, according to the group’s statement on Wednesday, with another 5 oil worker unions represented by another group also set to join in the strike, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The strike will go into effect on Saturday over Petrobras’ proposed annual wage hikes, which the group contends is lower than what the annual inflation rate is expected to be.

The annual inflation rate fell to 2.89% in September, from 3.43% in August. The forecast for the annual inflation rate was 2.97%, according to Trading Economics.

Labor unions in Brazil have been active this year, threatening to wage an all-out war that began in February against right-leaning President Jair Bolsonaro, which lowered the minimum wage and closed Brazil’s Ministry of Labor arguing that in Brazil there was “an excess of rights” when it comes to labor.

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“You have to do away with unions in Brazil,” Bolsonaro told reporters in February.

 The strike comes not even a month before Brazil is set to hold what is expected to be its biggest oil auction yet, with as much as $50 billion expected in auction proceeds. The areas up for auction are blocks Petrobras have previously explored and held rights for taking up to 5 billion barrels from those pre salt fields. As much as 15 billion barrels could still remain, and winning bidders will have to make some sort of payment arrangement to compensate Petrobras for exploration it has already done in this area.

These payments, which the winning bidders have 18 months to agree on, could net Petrobras anywhere from $25 billion to $45 billion.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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