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Petrobras Keeps Contingency Plan As Oil Strike Set To Enter Third Week

Brazil’s Petrobras will keep as long as necessary the contingency plans to keep operations unaffected amid a strike of oil workers, the state-held oil firm’s chief executive Roberto Castello Branco told Reuters on Friday.

The biggest oil workers’ union, Federação Única dos Petroleiros (FUP), called a strike that began on February 1 and is now set to enter its third week. The workers are protesting the closure of a Petrobras fertilizer plant and the layoffs of the employees. The workers’ union is demanding that Petrobras readmit those workers.

Employees at Petrobras are not reporting for work in nine states across the country, but the union has said the workers would avoid disruption of fuel supplies.

Petrobras says that its production has not been affected by the strike as it “took all appropriate measures to assure no disruption in the oil and gas production, refining activities and fuel supply,” as carried by Reuters.

A week into the strike, on February 7, the state oil company said that it was hiring emergency workers to ensure continued operations during the strike. The firm says that it has the right to hire workers to help it cope with the strike because the workers’ unions had disregarded a court order to have 90 percent of staff working.

On Wednesday, Brazil’s Supreme Court upheld the court ruling that 90 percent of Petrobras’s employees should continue to work, although workers’ unions have called a strike at the company, Reuters reported, citing the court decision it had seen.

While the strike continued, Petrobras announced earlier this week that it had set another production record in the last quarter of 2019, producing more than 3 million bpd of oil equivalent throughout the period, thanks to production in the pre-salt zone offshore Brazil. The fourth-quarter production figure was a 5.1-percent increase on the third quarter, and a 13.7-percent improvement on the fourth quarter of 2018. Around half of the total, or 1.533 million bpd of oil equivalent, came from deposits in the pre-salt area, Petrobras said in a securities filing.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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