March 2, 2013 / 4:35 PM / 5 years ago

CNPC oil workers in Niger end strike after pay deal

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Oil exploration workers at China National Petroleum Corporation’s (CNPC) Agadem field in Niger ended an eight day strike on Saturday after negotiating a 15 percent pay rise, the union said.

The strike at the 20,000 barrel-per-day Agadem field impacted exploration efforts in the West African state, but did not slow current output or affect the operations of the linked Zinder refinery.

“We have begun working again after the talks,” said Garba Saley Boubacar, a spokesman for the SYNATRAP oil workers union. “The management has made concessions on some of our proposals.”

Niger began pumping oil from the Agadem field in 2011, allowing it to reduce costly fuel imports, and is hoping to raise output enough to become a regional exporter by next year.

CNPC, the parent of China’s second-largest oil refiner PetroChina (601857.SS), is the impoverished Sahel nation’s dominant international partner and helped the country begin develop its oil as part of a $5 billion deal.

But the project has been marred by labour disputes and arguments with the government, including over fuel pricing and lower-than-expected output from the field and the refinery.

When it started the latest strike, SYNATRAP said it was seeking a 300 percent pay increase, a new salary structure and improvement in working conditions.

Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalatchi; Editing by Richard Valdmanis, Ron Askew

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