‘Total, Shell output not affected by Gabon strike’

14 March 2013, Libreville – French giant, Total and supermajor, Shell, have said their operations have been unaffected by a three-day-old strike by the oil workers’ union in Gabon.

This is, however, contrary to claims by the workers’ unions that its nearly 5,000 members were respecting the strike, leading to a shutdown of operations in oil fields.

“The strike has been marginal, only a handful of workers are participating in it,” Mathurin Mengue-Bibang, a spokesman for Total in Gabon, told Reuters.

“Our operations are ongoing, a ship was loaded at our Cape Lopez terminal and it departed today,” Mengue-Bibang said.

A spokesman for Shell also said its operations in the central African country had not been affected, the news wire reported.

The two companies dominate Gabon’s roughly 240,000 barrels per day crude oil sector.

The powerful ONEP oil workers’ union said on Saturday it had begun an open-ended strike to demand the application of a 2010 agreement, signed by the government, guaranteeing better labour terms and greater use of Gabonese staff.

A spokesman for ONEP said a majority of its nearly 5000 members were respecting the strike action, which had led to a shutdown of operations at several oilfields including at least three belonging to Total.

Mengue-Bibang said he was not aware of any work stoppage at any of Total’s fields.

“Work has stopped at half of Maurel & Prom fields, cutting production down to 5000 barrels per day from 23,000 bpd,” ONEP spokesman Hans Landry Ivala said from Gabon’s oil hub of Port-Gentil, according to Reuters.

A Maurel & Prom statement from Paris said the French company did not wish to comment, the news wire said.

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