Petrobras workers stage 24-hr strike

Workers at beleaguered Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) staged a 24-hr strike across Brazil to protest plans by the state-owned company to liquidate assets for debt service, according to news reports.

An official of the National Oil Workers Federation was quoted as saying 90% of the company’s 86,000 employees participated.

Brazil produces 2.3 million b/d of crude oil and has 13 refineries with total crude capacity of 1.9 million b/d.

Late in June, Petrobras, which dominates Brazilian production and refining, reported plans to divest assets totaling $15.1 billion in 2015-16—30% in exploration and production, 30% in downstream, and 40% in natural gas and power.

The company said it expected additional restructuring, demobilization of assets, and additional divestments totaling $42.6 billion during 2017-18.

Petrobras is at the center of a massive corruption scandal that has rocked the government.

Its new plan slashes investment during 2015-19 by 37% from a predecessor to $103.3 billion—83% for E&P, 10% for downstream, 5% for gas and power, and 2% for other areas.

Petrobras lowered its forecast for Brazilian production of crude oil and natural gas liquids in 2020 to 2.8 million b/d from the earlier-projected 4.2 million b/d.

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