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UpstreamOnline: Gabon oil workers threaten to widen strike

By Upstream staff

Oil industry unions in Gabon threatened to call a nationwide strike if they fail to reach a deal to end a strike at Shell’s subsidiary in the country, where 60,000 bpd of production is shut in.

“We are calling for the mobilisation of all ONEP members,” Guy Roger Aurat Reteno, secretary-general of Gabon’s National Organisation of Petroleum Workers (ONEP), told reporters in the capital Libreville on Friday.

Gabon’s forecast production in 2007 was 240,000 barrels per day, according to the US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

“ONEP’s executive bureau in Ogooue Maritime will make an appeal via the media in the coming hours for a general strike in the oil industry if no solution is found to the situation at Shell Gabon,” Retano said.

Ogooue Maritime is the coastal province where Gabon’s main oil installations lie, including Shell’s headquarters at Gamba.

Retano said union representatives at Marathon Oil’s operations in Gabon had served notice on Friday of a strike called insolidarity with workers at Shell.

ONEP represents workers at nearly 90 oil industry employers in Gabon, and has said only the biggest employer, Total, respects labour regulations set out in national laws governing the oil industry.

Workers demanding better overtime conditions and the departure of the senior management team at Shell Gabon went on strike at the company’s operations on 20 March .

Shell Gabon’s managing director Hans Bakker said on Thursday he had agreed to union demands on overtime, but said there was “no question” of him quitting his job.

ONEP estimates Shell’s losses from the shut-down of its 60,000 bpd production at 5 billion CFA francs (US$10 million to US$12 million) per day, said union spokesman Arnauld Engandji.

The strike has also affected some production from France’s Total Gabon and Perenco, which both pump oil through Shell’s Gamba terminal.
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31 March 2008 01:52 GMT  | last updated: 31 March 2008 01:56 GMT

http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article151423.ece

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