A Chevron spokesperson told Montel News, an information service for energy professionals, that the company would look to circumvent unions by tabling a pay offer directly to workers in the coming days.
The spokesperson stated: “We’re providing a proposed enterprise agreement for relevant employees at each of our Gorgon and Wheatstone onshore gas facilities to consider and vote on.
“The proposed agreements deliver significant value for our employees and would take effect as soon as operational if supported.”
The company had been facing the threat of impending strike action after being accused by unions of running its LNG operations “like feudal fiefdoms”.
Chevron operates two major LNG facilities in Australia that would be affected by strikes, specifically the 15.6 million tonnes per year (mtpa) Gorgon facility and the 8.9mtpa Wheatstone project. In addition, the Wheatstone offshore platform would also be affected.
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The Offshore Alliance, which encompasses the Maritime Union of Australia and the Australian Workers’ Union, began balloting for strike action on 18 August, with initial ballots for Gorgon and Wheatstone to close on 24 August. A second ballot for strike action at the Wheatstone offshore platform is set to close on 28 August.
In a move that may mitigate the potential impact of a strike, the company also stated it was planning to increase productive capacity at the Wheatstone facility. The plant will increase from 205 terajoules per day (TPD) productive capacity to 215TPD following a series of plant modifications and adjustments the facility has performed over the past year.
Chevron Australia’s managing director Mark Hatfield said of the increase: “We will continue to explore operational efficiencies and equipment enhancements at Wheatstone that could increase domestic gas capacity even further.”