Australian workers extend gas strike

The stoppage had previously sent EU gas prices surging by 12%

© AFP / Patrick T. Fallon

Australia’s Offshore Alliance union continued the rolling 24-hour stoppages at Chevron’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in western Australia for a second day, increasing uncertainty over global supply.

“Another 24-hour stoppage has been applied across all 3 facilities with 15 percent of Downstream members enacting rolling stoppages/bans after midday today,” an unnamed Offshore Alliance representative told Reuters on Sunday.

The strike is expected to run until 8am on Monday (00:00 GMT), the representative said, adding that further decisions regarding full-day strikes will be made at meetings that are held “twice a day everyday.”

Workers at the Wheatstone and Gorgon LNG facilities, which account for over 5% of global supply, started ramping up their campaign last week. The strike involves the limiting of operational activities, including the restart of equipment, the mooring and loading of tankers and other vessels, and laboratory analysis work.

Chevron appealed to Australia’s industrial tribunal to intervene in the dispute and cancel the strikes. The tribunal will hold a hearing on the issue as soon as next week, with a decision expected shortly thereafter.

EU gas prices surge

The company’s facilities are currently operated by non-union workers. There are around 500 union members working at the Gorgon and Wheatstone plants.

The potential decrease in gas exports from one of the world’s biggest suppliers has sent global prices higher, as it jeopardizes the intense competition for LNG due to seasonal demand in the northern hemisphere. Gas futures at the TTF hub in the Netherlands surged 12% on Friday when the strike kicked off.

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