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Petrobras to hire emergency workers as strike hits day 10

February 11/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brazilian state-led oil company Petrobras was cleared by a local labor court judge to hire emergency workers to maintain operations while unionized oil workers remained on the picket line for a 10th consecutive day, reported S&P Global with reference to the company and unions' statement Monday.

"Petrobras is in the process of immediately hiring people and services under an emergency to guarantee the operational continuity of its units during the strike," the company said in a statement. The emergency contracts started Friday, Petrobras said.

The latest turn in the ongoing labor dispute came despite a court order last week that forced unions to maintain at least 90% of unionized workers on the job or risk facing a fine of more than USD100,000/day. According to the injunction, the judge dismissed claims by oil workers that Petrobras had failed to adhere to the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement signed in November. All of the unions agreed to the deal, the judge ruled, and not enough time had passed for Petrobras to not live up to terms of the agreement.

The Oil Workers Federation, or FUP, said in a separate statement that necessary work crews remained on the job, but that Petrobras officials denied the union entrance to operational units to make a head count. Union officials said that Petrobras was using the strike movement as a way to hire strike breakers.

"Management's contradictions are evidence of the political treatment given to the oil workers strike in order to criminalize the movement," FUP said in a statement Monday. "That puts at risk the safety of workers and installations in announcing the hiring of scabs."

The emergency workers, however, will be technically qualified to carry out the required work, Petrobras said.

Oil workers across Brazil started a series of work actions commonly referred to as a "warning strike" on Saturday, February 1. Workers failed to show up for shift changes or carried out work-to-rule actions, but the walkout was not aimed at affecting production at offshore platforms and refineries, according to the union.

union wants Petrobras to halt the planned layoff of more than 1,000 workers at a fertilizer plant in Parana state. Petrobras is exiting the fertilizer business and has tried for years to sell or lease the existing facilities without success. The layoffs will go into effect Friday, union officials said.

A total of 40 production platforms, 11 refineries and 18 oil and refined-product terminals were adhering to the strike as of Monday morning, FUP said.

The strike has not affected output or domestic refined-product supplies, Petrobras said. Many of the biggest floating production, storage and offloading vessels, or FPSOs, handling output from the subsalt region are leased or operated by third-party companies such as SBM Offshore and Japan's Modec, so similar recent walkouts have had little impact on production.

"Units are operating under adequate conditions, with reinforcement from contingency teams when necessary," Petrobras said. "There are no impacts on production at this time."

As MRC wrote earlier, the chief executive of Brazilian state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro said in December 2019 he wants to sell the company's stake in petrochemical company Braskem within 12 months.

We also remind that Braskem is no longer pursuing a petrochemical project, which would have included an ethane cracker, in West Virginia. And the company is seeking to sell the land that would have housed the cracker. The project, announced in 2013, had been on Braskem's back burner for several years.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,904,410 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2019, up by 6% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. PE shipments increased from both domestic producers and foreign suppliers. The PP consumption in the Russian market was 1,161,830 tonnes in January-November 2019, up by 7% year on year. Deliveries of all grades of propylene polymers increased, with the homopolymer PP segment accounting for the largest increase.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras is an integrated energy firm. Petrobras' activities include exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks as well as refining, processing, trade and transport of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons, in addition to other energy-related activities.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, PP random copolymer, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, Braskem, Petrobras, Brazil, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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