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U.S. refinery strike enters 12th day, no talks scheduled
February 12, 2015 / 5:37 PM / 3 years ago

U.S. refinery strike enters 12th day, no talks scheduled

HOUSTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The largest U.S. refinery strike since 1980 entered its 12th day on Thursday with no talks scheduled between union and industry representatives until next week, and at least one refinery will remain out of production for the duration of the work stoppage.

Tesoro Corp Chief Financial Officer Steven Sterin told analysts during an earnings conference call on Thursday that production at the company’s 166,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in Martinez, California, will remain shut down until the strike ends.

Two of Tesoro’s California refineries and another in Washington are among nine refineries where workers are on strike, affecting 13 percent of U.S. capacity. A chemical plant and power co-generation plant have also seen walkouts.

Tesoro is operating the Martinez refinery near San Francisco as a terminal.

Tesoro Chief Executive Greg Goff said during the call that it was too early to discuss hiring permanent replacements for the striking workers.

No talks are scheduled between the United Steelworkers union (USW), which represents the striking workers, and Shell Oil Co, the U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc that is the lead oil company negotiator.

Shell has said it needs time to fulfill an extensive information request from the union.

“The lines of communication between the USW and Shell remain open,” Shell spokesman Ray Fisher said.

A union representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Since the talks started on Jan. 21, sticking points have included the use of non-union contractors and how to monitor worker fatigue. Wage increases and health benefits are also on the bargaining table.

The USW is seeking a three-year, industry-wide pact that would cover 30,000 workers at 63 U.S. refineries that together account for two-thirds of domestic capacity.

Over the weekend, walkouts widened to include BP Plc’s Whiting, Indiana, refinery and its joint-venture refinery with Husky Energy in Toledo, Ohio.

Companies have called on trained temporary replacement workers to keep their plants running at nearly normal levels.

Refineries where the strikes are taking place have reported malfunctions since walkouts began on Feb. 1.

A 70,000-bpd gasoline-producing fluid catalytic cracking unit was shut earlier this week at Shell’s 327,000-bpd refinery in the Houston suburb of Deer Park, Texas. (Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Paul Simao)

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