(Bloomberg) — Liquefied natural gas workers in Australia will meet Thursday to consider a “strong offer” from Woodside Energy Group Ltd. following new talks, easing a strike threat in one of three disputes underway in the key exporting nation.
More than 150 staff at parts of Woodside’s North West Shelf LNG operations will decide whether to endorse an agreement reached with the company after a 15-hour meeting on Wednesday, the Offshore Alliance — a group that represents two major unions — said by email. They will also vote on whether to withdraw a notice of industrial action.
Workers at various Chevron Corp. operations in Australia are continuing to negotiate in two separate disputes that also carry a threat of potential strike action. A ballot on approving industrial action — a key step before any strikes can be triggered — is scheduled to be completed Thursday at the Gorgon and Wheatstone downstream facilities and on Aug. 28 at Wheatstone platforms.
“It’s pleasing that Woodside has made our members a strong offer without industrial action being taken,” Offshore Alliance spokesperson Brad Gandy said in a statement. “Despite the lengthy road to this point, we are relieved that Woodside has now taken a more pragmatic approach and decided to offer our members an enterprise agreement with industry standard terms and conditions.”
Woodside said “substantial progress” had been made in the talks, and confirmed unions had not triggered an option to give the required seven working days’ notice to begin a strike. Workers at Woodside’s North West Shelf operations have been locked in discussions with the producer on demands around pay and other conditions for months.
“If Offshore Alliance members at the Woodside NWS Platforms accept this deal it will leave Chevron as the sole operator in the Western Australia gas fields without an Enterprise Agreement with its workforce,” the Offshore Alliance said Thursday. “However, we don’t think Chevron will be alone in that endeavor for long.”
Strikes at the Woodside and Chevron facilities threaten as much as 10% of global LNG supply, and prices in Europe and Asia have surged this month on the prospect of action.
Benchmark European natural gas prices sank 14% on Wednesday to erase most of the gains over the prior two sessions.