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A general view of Chevron's Wheatstone LNG facility. Chevron/Handout via REUTERS

A general view of Chevron's Wheatstone LNG facility in Pilbara coast, Western Australia, as seen in this undated handout image obtained by Reuters on September 8, 2023. Chevron/Handout via REUTERS

LNG Threat Returns as Australia Workers Discuss Resuming Strikes

Bloomberg
Total Views: 1029
October 6, 2023

(Bloomberg) —

Union members at Chevron Corp. liquefied natural gas facilities in Australia are deciding on a plan to resume strikes after criticizing the company’s efforts to finalize an agreement on pay and conditions.

Workers accuse Chevron of reneging on commitments made last month to end a dispute that roiled global markets, and will hold talks on next steps from 3:30 p.m. Perth time, according to the Offshore Alliance, a group representing two unions. 

A meeting of some workers late Thursday endorsed plans to resume stoppages, according to a union official, who requested anonymity because the talks were private. If Friday’s discussions follow suit, unions will on Monday give Chevron the required seven working days notice to begin industrial action.

Chevron has “consistently and meaningfully engaged in an effort” to formalize an agreement, the company said Thursday. 

Stoppages and walkouts at Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities — which accounted for about 7% of global LNG supply last year — started on Sept. 8, capping weeks of threats to exports which triggered a series of spikes in gas prices in Europe and Asia. 

Both sides later last month agreed to accept a proposed settlement put forward by the Fair Work Commission, Australia’s labor regulator, which included suggested improvements to allowances for remote work and travel delays.

In other LNG news:

  • Pakistan is open to signing another long-term liquefied natural gas purchase agreement to make up for an expected shortfall in domestic fuel production
    • Country will decide on new LNG terminals soon, according to energy minister Muhammad Ali
  • Shell said its earnings from gas trading business rebounded in the third quarter

Drivers:

  • US natural gas futures jumped Thursday after a smaller-than-expected increase in domestic inventories and forecasts for colder temperatures in the Northeast and upper Midwest
  • Estimated gas flows to US LNG export terminals Thursday were at about 12.4 bcf/day, +2.2% w/w, according to BloombergNEF
  • US natural gas stockpiles rose 86 bcf in latest week, according to EIA
  • European natural gas headed for a weekly loss as high winter stockpiles and muted demand outweigh concerns about fresh strike risks at export plants in Australia
  • European gas storage was 96% full on Oct. 4 vs. 5 year seasonal normal of 88% for this time of year, according to GIE
  • Competition for flexible LNG volume is expected to be less fierce than last winter with Europe having enough gas storage and production outages in the US resolved, according to BloombergNEF

Vessel Rates:

  • Pacific spot earnings for a 160k cubic-meter vessel were $168,250/day on Thursday, down $5,750 from the previous session, according to Spark Commodities, based on assessments from LNG ship brokers
  • Atlantic spot earnings were $149,250/day, down $2,250 from the previous session
  • SparkNOTE: Spark values calculated on a round-trip basis, including hire, ballast bonus and lump sum estimates

Futures Prices:

  • Japan-Korea Marker futures for November delivery -0.3% to $14.11/mmbtu on Thursday
    • December contract -2.7% to $13.815
  • TTF futures for November delivery declined 0.1% to the equivalent of $11.18/mmbtu Friday
    • December contract -0.6% to $12.77/mmbtu

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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