ITF President has threatened to declare Barrow Island, a place offshore Australia where Chevron is developing the Gorgon Project, a “port of convenience”.
Speaking from the ITF congress in Bulgaria today, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) president Paddy Crumlin said Australia’s Barrow Island could be “declared a ‘port of convenience’ unless Chevron tempers its union-busting efforts in the offshore oil and gas sector.”
A port of convenience is a port or terminal where health and safety standards or working conditions are below what’s considered acceptable by ITF and its affiliated unions.
Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project off Australia’s north-west coast has overrun from USD37 billion to USD54 billion due to the company’s ongoing mismanagement, the ITF press release reads.
“But rather than take responsibility for its poor performance, parts of the company insist unions were to blame,” said Paddy Crumlin, who is also national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
“If Chevron continues to seek to exclude my union from an Australian island which will export natural gas then it will have to be declared a port of convenience,” Crumlin told the 43rd ITF congress in Sofia, Bulgaria.
“They are suing the MUA for no more reason than workers on the job ensuring that occupational health and safety standards are met.
“We have made attempts to reach out to Chevron, we travelled to their shareholder meeting in Midland, Texas, earlier this year.”
It was there the MUA received an assurance from Chevron chief executive John Watson that unions were not to blame for cost blowouts on the Gorgon project, the ITF release reads.
Watson said he had “no intention of blaming organised labour for cost overruns or delays at Gorgon.”
“Employers need to clearly decide whether they want to work with unions – and we’ll be there – or against unions – and we’ll be there as well,” Crumlin said.
The Gorgon Project is developing the Gorgon and Jansz-Io gas fields, located within the Greater Gorgon area, between 130 and 220 kilometres off the northwest coast of Western Australia.
It includes the construction of a 15.6 million tonne per annum (MTPA) liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Barrow Island and a domestic gas plant with the capacity to supply 300 terajoules of gas per day to Western Australia.
Gorgon LNG will be off loaded via a 2.1 kilometre long loading jetty for transport to international markets. The domestic gas will be piped to the Western Australian mainland.
The Gorgon Project is operated by Chevron. It is a joint venture of the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron (approximately 47.3 percent), ExxonMobil (25 percent), Shell (25 percent), Osaka Gas (1.25 percent), Tokyo Gas (1 percent) and Chubu Electric Power (0.417 percent).