Unions Threaten Strike at Woodside Energy, Potentially Impacting Global LNG Market

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SYDNEY, August 20 – The North West Shelf offshore gas platforms of Woodside Energy Group (WDS.AX) are set to experience a potentially disruptive strike from September 2, following a recent announcement by the workers’ unions. This move could severely impact the shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Australia, the leading global exporter of LNG.

The impending strike culminates an extended disagreement between Woodside and its employees, primarily concerning pay scales and employment conditions at its North West Shelf gas platforms. These platforms are the backbone of Australia’s most expansive LNG production plant.

Underpinning the workers’ collective voice, the Offshore Alliance, which amalgamates the Maritime Union of Australia and the Australian Workers’ Union, has formally alerted Woodside with a seven-day notice. If Woodside doesn’t address their bargaining claims by the end of the business day on Wednesday, the unions are prepared to strike.

Brad Gandy, a spokesperson for the Offshore Alliance, remarked, “Woodside has consistently dodged collective bargaining. This approach has, unfortunately, pushed our members into a corner. They don’t initiate industrial action lightly; however, Woodside’s stance leaves them with minimal alternatives.”.

While Woodside opted not to comment on the recent developments, they’ve historically stated a continuous and constructive engagement in the bargaining processes.

Highlighting the broad worker support for the unions’ stance, 99% of Woodside’s workforce granted the unions the authority to initiate various industrial actions, including halting work. Such permissions were facilitated after the Fair Work Commission approved “protected industrial action.”

Parallelly, another energy giant, Chevron, is witnessing a stir at its Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG facilities. The workforce there has initiated a vote to decide whether unions should have the authority to call for strike action. The results of this voting are eagerly awaited later this week.

Woodside’s and Chevron’s facilities account for an astounding 10% of the global LNG market supply. The potential strike at these crucial nodes has raised international concerns, notably causing ripples in European gas prices. Market analysts are closely watching the scenario, as they believe this industrial action could escalate the competition between Asian and European buyers for LNG cargoes.

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