(AUSTRALIA) – Energy giant Chevron and unions have reached a resolution to put an end to the strikes at two major liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Australia.
Workers have accepted a proposed agreement presented by the country’s labor regulator, according to the Offshore Alliance, a coalition of two unions. The ongoing industrial action will now be suspended, as stated by a union spokesperson.
Since September 8, strikes had been occurring at the Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities, primarily concerning issues related to pay and working conditions.
Brad Gandy, a spokesperson for the Offshore Alliance, stated, “At a late-night mass meeting, members endorsed the latest offer, which incorporates the Fair Work Commission’s recommendations.”
Chevron strikes resolved
The Fair Work Commission, Australia’s industrial arbitrator, had been facilitating mediation talks between the company and union representatives. Gandy further added, “The Offshore Alliance will now collaborate with Chevron to finalize the agreement’s drafting, and members will soon cease current industrial action.”
Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone plants, located in Western Australia, account for over 5% of the world’s LNG capacity. The labor dispute had led to fluctuations in LNG markets due to concerns about potential disruptions to global gas supplies.
The global energy markets have been under strain since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, resulting in surges in oil and gas prices and increased energy costs for households and businesses.
The Kremlin also reduced natural gas supplies to Europe, prompting countries to seek alternative energy sources, with many turning to LNG to bridge the gap.
Energy industry expert Saul Kavonic told reporters, “It was quite remarkable that a few hundred workers offshore Western Australia have managed to roil global markets and cause tens of billions of dollars in market movements.” He added, “But it happened because there is no resilience left in our global gas system.”
LNG is methane or a mixture of methane and ethane that has been purified and cooled to around -160°C, transforming it into a liquid that can be transported in pressurized tankers.
Upon arrival at its destination, LNG is converted back into a gas and used for heating, cooking, and power generation, similar to natural gas.