April saw Kuwaiti oil and gas workers conclude a three-day strike over proposed changes to the public sector payroll system. A failed global deal in Doha prompted Russia to confirm plans to increase oil production to record highs and an explosion at the Pajaritos plant in Mexico killed three and injured 136.
Kuwaiti oil and gas workers end strike
A three-day strike by Kuwaiti oil and gas workers, which temporarily caused the OPEC member’s crude oil production to be cut to by almost half has ended. Announced on Twitter, the Oil and Petrochemicals Industries Workers Confederation confirmed that workers would return to work on Wednesday 20 April. The strike followed negotiations with Kuwait’s Oil Minister, who pledged to “immediately return production to its previous level”. A planned revision of the public sector payroll system had prompted staff to strike due to fears of layoffs and salary reductions. Having forced the Kuwait Oil Company to reduce normal barrels per day (bpd) from 3 million to 1.1 million, production returned to 1.5 million bpd the following week.
Russia set to raise oil production to record highs
Days after failed talks in Doha, Russia confirmed plans to increase oil production by more than one million bpd. A global deal to freeze output levels between OPEC member Venezuela and non-OPEC producer Russia failed after Riyadh refused to sign if Iran did not take part. The planned deal was set to rebalance the market following an accumulated stockpile and oversupply. Saudi Arabia also said it could increase its crude output to more than 12 million bpd, which would see them overtake Russia as the World’s leading oil producer. Russia’s oil output has seen substantial growth – rising from 6 million bpd in 2000. Although oil experts predicted a decline in their output, this has so far failed to happen.
Three dead, 136 injured in Mexico oil plant explosion
Following a huge explosion at the state-run Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo plant known as Pajaritos in Veracruz State, south-eastern Mexico, at least three workers have died and more than 136 have been injured according to joint-owner Pemex. Felt as far as 10km away, large plumes of toxic grey smoke were seen during the explosion. Nearby schools and businesses were evacuated, with residents asked to remain in their homes while the clouds of chemicals dispersed. The cause of the blast has yet to be confirmed, although fires are recognised as a constant risk at Mexican oil facilities. Pemex is known to represent a fifth of the Mexican government’s revenue, however due to depleted production and reduced oil prices, it has reported significant losses.
New evidence shows BP oil spill larger than thought
New findings have found that the BP oil spill – Deepwater Horizon – in the Gulf of Mexico was considerably larger than previously thought. According to the new study, the largest oil spill in US history, which occurred six years ago, affected 19% of the coastline – much more than originally published. During 87 days the spill released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf; oil was either released into the sea or found on the shorelines of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. 1313 miles out of 5930 miles of shoreline were affected, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists and other private research companies.