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Negotiations Break Down Between Chevron And Australian LNG Workers

Australia’s Fair Work Commission is set to decide on Friday whether to halt the strikes at Chevron’s two LNG export facilities in Australia after the latest talks between the U.S. supermajor and trade unions failed on Wednesday.

“The ongoing lack of agreement reinforces our view that there is no reasonable prospect of agreement between the parties,” a spokesperson for Chevron told Reuters today.   

The workers have stepped up their industrial action that began earlier last week, and plan further escalations in the coming weeks.    

After the latest negotiations between the trade unions and the U.S. company failed to resolve the labor dispute, the Fair Work Commission, the labor market regulator, will meet on September 22 to hear the dispute after Chevron reached out to it in an effort to force the workers to settle.

The supermajor is seeking to get a so-called “intractable bargaining” declaration from the Fair Work Commission, meaning the FWC could force workers to agree to terms proposed by Chevron.

Despite the industrial action and a fault at the Wheatstone facility last week, LNG exports out of Australia remain unaffected, vessel tracking data shows.

Yet, the Offshore Alliance trade union wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday that “Chevron bosses are telling the global media that they are doing a bang up job whilst copping Protected Industrial Action on their West Coast oil and gas facilities. This is simply unadulterated bullshit from a mob who are masters of spin.”

According to OA, volumes across all 3 trains at the Gorgon LNG facility have dropped by 12%, while the Wheatstone facility is still flaring gas.

“The cracks are starting to appear across all 3 Chevron facilities as their unskilled, untrained, and non-competent contingency workforce are ready to implode,” the trade union said.

Despite the failed talks in Australia, the front-month benchmark European natural gas price futures were trading 1% lower at 12:31 p.m. GMT on Wednesday, following a jump on Tuesday, which was driven by expected delays at the ramp-up of the giant Norwegian gas field Troll after regular maintenance. 


By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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