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Oil Refinery Strike Widens To Largest U.S. Plant

chemical solvent storage tank yihai kerryHOUSTON, Feb 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. refinery strike widened on its twentieth day, with staff at the nation’s largest refinery walking off jobs and becoming a member of picket lines on Saturday because the United Steelworkers union (USW) pushes for a brand new contract that improves wages and safety.

Strikes are underway or have been oil and gas production engineer interview questions called at 15 plants, including 12 refineries with a fifth of U.S. crude processing capability. The stoppages, which have pressured firms to rely on skilled momentary staff to maintain plants operating close to regular, are the biggest within the refining sector since 1980.

Shortly after talks between union and oil company representatives ended on Friday evening, the union notified Motiva Enterprises of a strike by its members at the company’s 600,250 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Port Arthur, Texas.

USW members are additionally scheduled to go on strike by 12 a.m. Sunday at Motiva’s 235,000 bpd Convent, Louisiana and 238,000 bpd Norco, Louisiana refineries and the Shell Oil Co chemical plant in Norco, the union said.

“The industry’s refusal to meaningfully address safety points by means of good religion bargaining gave us no other choice but to expand our work stoppage,” USW Worldwide President Leo Gerard stated in a press release.

As of Saturday, no new talks had been scheduled between the two sides.
Motiva was targeted for the strikes because it’s a 50-50 joint enterprise of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Aramco . Shell’s U.S. arm Shell Oil Co is the lead oil firm negotiator in talks with the USW for a nationwide agreement on security, pay and advantages.

Shell and the USW have been near an agreement for a new contract on Friday night, but different oil corporations had been unwilling to just accept the bargain, oil and gas production engineer interview questions stated sources familiar with the talks.

“As the lead firm, Shell has the role to get the oil corporations to come along,” mentioned one of the sources. “The (union) leadership group determined Shell wanted to be put on the checklist of focused firms.”

A Shell spokesman stated the company was disenchanted by the Port Arthur walkout and strike notices to the Louisiana plants.

In a letter Shell has sent to putting staff at its Deer Park, Texas, refinery and chemical plant, a replica of which was seen by Reuters, the corporate mentioned the important thing sticking level was non-union contractors who carry out daily upkeep, which the USW wish to see replaced with union employees.

The corporate said it wanted flexibility.
“Hiring flexibility is a confirmed manner to protect our core Shell workforce and the lengthy-time period financial viability of our workforce,” the letter said. “This technique has served us all effectively, as we haven’t needed to conduct any layoffs in many years.”

The strike that started Feb. 1 was last expanded Feb. 6, when workers at BP Plc-operated refineries in Indiana and Ohio had been informed to begin a work stoppage the next day.

Employees have been already on strike at Shell’s 327,000 bpd joint-venture refinery in Deer Park for the reason that strike began on Feb. 1.

The Motiva walkout may complicate operations at the Port Arthur refinery, which has several models shut but did return its second largest crude distillation unit (CDU) to full production on Friday night.

The 195,000 bpd CDU is certainly one of three on the refinery that do the preliminary refining of crude oil coming into the plant and supply feedstock for all different production units.

The refinery’s largest CDU, which has a rated capacity of 325,000 bpd is working at about 200,000 bpd, the sources mentioned, as a result of a 60,000 bpd hydrocracking unit is shut as a consequence of a malfunction. The hydrocracker produces motor fuel, primarily diesel, which has grow to be a lucrative export for U.S. refiners.

Motiva also shut a 92,000 bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit at the refinery in early January for an overhaul. It’s scheduled to restart in the first half of March.