Global Processing

Gabon Oil Union Threatens Nationwide Shutdown

March 31, 2008
Reuters is reporting that 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 is shut down.

Guy Roger Aurat Reteno, secretary-general of Gabon''s National Organization of Petroleum Workers (ONEP), told reporters in the capital Libreville that they are calling for the mobilization of all ONEP members.

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

Retano also said that ONEP’s executive bureau in Ogooue Maritime will appeal the situation via the media for a general strike in the oil industry if no solution to the situation is reached at Shell Gabon.

Ogooue Maritime is the coastal province where Gabon''s main oil installations are located, including Shell''s headquarters at Gamba.

Retano said union representatives at Marathon Oil''s operations in Gabon had served notice recently of a strike called in solidarity with workers at Shell.

ONEP represents workers at nearly 90 oil industry employers in Gabon, and has said only the biggest employer, Total, respects labor 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 March 20.

Shell Gabon''s Managing Director Hans Bakker said 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 ($10-12 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.