Wed, 04 Oct 2023

SYDNEY, Australia: Contrary to earlier concerns, exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) continued from Chevron's two Western Australian plants last week, despite a labor walk-out and inoperative equipment, according to shipping data from analyst LSEG Eikon and Kpler.

Liquefied natural gas exports from Australia's Gorgon and Wheatstone plants are responsible for over 5 percent of world supplies. Six days of limited labor strikes were held last week at the plants.

Through September, the unions can continue to strike, along with refusing to load tankers.

Still, local media reported that the tanker Pacific Enlighten loaded 140,650 cubic meters of LNG from the Wheatstone terminal last week, for delivery to Japan.

Other tankers loaded from the terminals last week will make deliveries to China.

Additionally, Chevron reportedly told Japan's Kyushu Electric Power that the labor disputes will not prevent deliveries of LNG, according to company president Kazuhiro Ikebe. Also, officials at Japan's Kansai Electric Power report no disruptions in gas imports from Australia.

Last week's work stoppage at Wheatstone cut production by about one-quarter.

A labor strike would be most effective now, since restarting equipment required more workers.

"Chevron will try to use its non-unionized workers to restart the equipment, but that can be more challenging and take longer with the less trained, smaller workforce," said energy analyst Saul Kavonic, as reported by Reuters.

Chevron has not denied bringing in non-union workers during the strike, saying the company had taken steps to minimize reductions in the flow of natural gas, including "having appropriately qualified personnel available."

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