Brazilian Oil Workers Strike to Stop Libra Auction

Brazilian Oil Workers Strike to Stop Libra Auction

Starting at midnight, Brazil's oil workers from state-owned giant oil company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A., or Petrobras, have gone on an indefinite strike to try and cancel the Oct. 21 Libra prospect auction. According to a statement by the federation will meet Monday to make a decision on the strike.

One of the world's largest-ever offshore oil discoveries, Libra, is estimated to hold between 8 billion and 12 billion barrels of recoverable oil and will be sold under new production-sharing agreements.

The oil deposits, which could make Brazil one of the world’s top 5 oil producers, were found more than 5,000 meters below seabed, under sand, rocks and a thick layer of salt – hence “pre-salt.”

"The main objective of the strikers is not to affect production, but to get Brazil to cancel the Libra auction," Edison Munhoz Filho, vice president of the National Oil Workers Union (FUP) told Rigzone.

The strike is also to raise wages and stop outsourcing of workers by the company. Petrobras made its latest offer Oct. 7, a wage increase of 7.68 percent. The union is seeking an 11.63 percent increase, a union spokesman said.  The workers have rejected Petrobras' proposal offering a raise between 1.17 percent and 1.5.

Workers at Petrobras' refineries, distribution terminals, offshore platforms and other sites will refuse to change shifts and only perform essential duties, the spokesman said.  A national committee of defense of petroleum and citizenship has taken legal action to suspend the Libra auction.

President Dilma Rousseff said she will call upon the Army to protect people participating in the auction. She is not expected to visit the auction, say government sources.


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