SYDNEY: Staff are preparing a series of rolling strikes at Chevron’s natural gas facilities in Western Australia, the company said Tuesday, in a move set to unnerve global energy markets.
Chevron has been told the strikes will start Sept 7 at its Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities in Western Australia, a major international hub for natural gas production.
The company said it would “continue to take steps to maintain safe and reliable operations in the event of disruption at our facilities”.
“We will also continue to work through the bargaining process as we seek outcomes that are in the interests of both employees and the company,” it told AFP in a statement.
The Offshore Alliance, which represents Chevron’s highly unionised workforce, said the strikes would “escalate each week until Chevron agrees to our bargaining claims” and that the company’s efforts to date had been “inept and incompetent”.
Strike action would cover some 500 staff and include “rolling stoppages, bans and limitations”, the alliance added.
The Offshore Alliance has previously warned that it could “jam up” Chevron’s operations, costing the company “billions in revenue”.
Industrial action taken by Australian staff on Shell’s Prelude gas ship lasted for 76 days last year, causing an estimated US$650 million in lost revenues.
The alliance has also accused Chevron of underpaying “highly skilled oil and gas workers engaged on remote major hazard facilities”, and said it refused to be intimidated by the multinational energy giant.
Although Europe has largely replenished gas stockpiles disrupted by the war in Ukraine, there are fears that shortages and strong demand in Asia could rapidly put the squeeze on future supplies.
Chevron is one of two major natural gas producers in Western Australia, alongside Woodside Energy.
Between them, the two companies account for almost 10% of international natural gas exports.
Natural gas prices spiked across Europe earlier this month after staff threatened industrial action at the offshore gas platforms owned by Woodside, with one benchmark index surging by more than 30%.
Those strikes were averted after the company managed to hammer out a last-minute agreement with union members.
Australia is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of natural gas.