Photo: Petrobras protest in Brazil
Most Brazilian oil workers have called off the strike they began a week ago to press demands for higher salaries and protest the auction of the deep-water Libra field.
The FUP union, which represents most employees of Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras, said the strike was suspended in the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, Amazonas, Parana, Santa Catarina and at some installations in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states.
Regional unions in the cities of Campos and Macae - the operational bases for offshore platforms in the Campos Basin, the country’s largest - were scheduled to meet Wednesday night to decide whether to resume work, according to a statement.
Unions located in the states of Ceara, Rio Grande do Sul, Pernambuco and Paraiba are “broadly” approving the salary hikes offered by Petrobras and will hold their assemblies on Thursday, the statement added.
Petrobras offered an 8.56 percent salary hike, as well as a bonus equivalent to a monthly salary and other education and health benefits.
Workers went on strike last Thursday to demand a pay raise and to protest the auction of Libra, Brazil’s largest oil field.
On Monday, the lone bidder in the auction, a consortium made up of Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Chinese oil companies CNOOC and CNPC and Petrobras, was awarded production rights to Libra.
Libra is one of a series of ultra-deep, “pre-salt” oil fields that were discovered in recent years and stretch for some 800 kilometers (500 miles) off the coasts of the southeastern states of Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santa Catarina.
That new frontier, so-named because the fields are located under water, rocks and a shifting layer of salt at depths of up to 7,000 meters (22,950 feet) below the surface of the Atlantic, could dramatically increase Brazil’s proven-reserve tally and transform the country into a major crude exporter.
Petrobras will be the operator of Libra and hold a 40 percent stake.
The unions, however, slammed what they called Libra’s “privatization” and held protests near the Rio de Janeiro hotel where the auction - the first for a “pre-salt” field - took place.