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Jera Energy's loading terminal in Australia. The Gorgon LNG Project refers to the large-scale gas fields, including Gorgon and Jansz, located off the northwestern coast of Western Australia, which produce 15.6 million tons of LNG annually.

Chevron LNG Workers go on Strike, Threatening Global Supply

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September 8, 2023

Sept 8 (Reuters) – Workers at Chevron’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Australia went on strike on Friday after talks broke down without a deal, sending British and European gas prices surging.

The dispute is over wages and conditions at Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone operations, which account for over 5% of global supply.

Chevron had been negotiating with the workers for weeks alongside Australia’s Woodside Energy, which had managed to avert the strikes last month after reaching a deal.

The workers are backed by the Offshore Alliance (OA) – which combines the Maritime Union of Australia and Australian Workers’ Union.

Here is a sequence of events leading up to the strike action:

Aug. 9Workers at Woodside’s liquefied LNG facilities in Australia vote for industrial action.
Aug. 10Chevron and Woodside say they are holding talks with union to avert any potential action by the workers.
Aug. 11Australia’s labor regulator, the Fair Work Commission, allows workers’ union to hold a ballot of employees to decide if they wanted to make a decision on taking industrial action at Chevron’s Gorgon and downstream Wheatstone LNG facilities.
Aug. 15Negotiations between Chevron, Woodside Energy Group and Australian unions continue but a source with knowledge of the matter tells Reuters that the talks are unlikely to yield results for days.
Aug. 16Woodside says “positive progress” was being made on talks with a union alliance on disputes over the wages of workers.
Aug. 16The Offshore Alliance says during the negotiations Woodside was “well off the pace on key bargaining issues including job security and remuneration.”
Aug. 18Voting opens in Chevron’s facilities to let workers decide if they want to strike due to disputes over wages and working conditions.
Aug. 20Unions at Woodside’s North West Shelf offshore gas platforms announce plans to strike as early as Sept. 2.
Aug. 22Woodside CEO Meg O’Neil says the company has had “constructively addressed” several concerns of workers but said it also has a duty to shareholders to be able to run the business.
Aug. 23Woodside and unions meet for another round of talks to avoid the strikes.
Aug. 23Chevron’s Australian unit says it would increase domestic gas production capacity at its Wheatstone facility.
Aug. 24Woodside reaches an in-principle agreement with unions to avert strikes.
Aug. 24Workers at Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone downstream facilities vote to allow unions to call for a strike if necessary.
Aug. 25Unions at Chevron’s LNG facilities in Australia warn that work stoppages could cost the U.S. energy major billions in exports if workers’ demands on wages and conditions were not met.
Aug. 28Workers at Chevron’s offshore Wheatstone facility grant unions the power to call strikes on their behalf.
Aug. 28Unions representing workers at Chevron’s two major Australian LNG complexes say that they will take industrial action from Sept. 7.
Aug. 29Chevron’s workers release details of industrial action including potential work stoppages of up to 10 hours.
Sept. 1Chevron workers reject a company pay and conditions offer.
Sept. 1The offshore alliance says no meetings have been scheduled between unions and Chevron.
Sept. 4Mediation talks to avert strikes at Chevron’s LNG facilities in Australia begin once again.
Sept. 5Chevron workers announce plans for total strikes from Sept. 14 if their demands were not met.
Sept. 5Some employees of Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG facility in Australia offer to work during industrial action in a bid to avert domestic supply disruptions, the Offshore alliance says.
Sept. 6Workers at Chevron’s LNG facilities agree to pause planned strike action for one day until Sept. 8.
Sept. 7Chevron’s LNG workers agree to delay the strike until 1 p.m. local time in Perth (0500 GMT) on Sept. 8 from the earlier scheduled start at 6 a.m. in Perth.
Sept. 8Workers at Chevron’s LNG project begin strike as talks between the company and the unions fail to yield any results.

(Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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