By Marica Micallef
At the end of last June, the media reported that due to an intensifying labour dispute, Shell’s massive floating LNG project off the north-west coast has postponed shipments until at least mid-July, reducing the supply of gas on the already constrained global market. Trade unions represented through the Offshore Alliance allege Shell has threatened union negotiators with its plan to shut down the facility amid the escalating circumstances.
This means that the oil giant Shell has halted $150 million worth of gas supplies around the world due to overpayment issues, prolonging the created energy crisis.
Given the [alleged] national gas crisis, Australian Workers’ Union national secretary Daniel Walton called the threat “insane,” and said the energy company was attempting to bully the country into agreeing to its “hardline” demands. He told Sky News that Shell’s “decision to cancel gas shipments to one of Australia’s newest LNG plants will hurt so many workers across the world, damage the company’s brand, especially during these times of [planned and organised] limited gas supply across the world. He added, “We find ourselves here today staring down the barrel potentially a very messy industrial dispute”. Footage can be watched here:
However, the energy multinational insists that the likely shutdown is due to union bans, which limit its ability to operate the complex facility and offload cargoes. Prelude provides LNG to the export market rather than to Australian energy users.
According to a Shell spokesperson, the company has informed customers that it will be cancelling cargo until at least the middle of July due to the impact of the strike.
Fast forward to 19th August, and we learn that “Shell’s massive Prelude FLNG facility off Australia will remain shut in due to a pay dispute with unions still not being settled.”
What is also interesting about this manufactured mess, is the fact that in May of this year, we learn that Shell’s profits nearly tripled to $9.1 billion (£7.3 billion) at the start of this year as energy prices skyrocketed “due to the Ukraine conflict“. Such a pity that this “Ukraine conflict” did not make the income of the general people, especially those of the lower and middle-class, who are truly struggling, triple too!
“Shell’s £7.3bn underlying earnings for the first three months of this year were better than expected and nearly three times higher than the $3.2bn (£2.6bn) reported in 2021.”
So, Shell Petrol’s profits tripled to £7.3 billion. This is equivalent to a total of £80 million pound profit every single day. Then this means that politicians have no right to refer to this as a cost-of-living problem when it is obvious that it is driven only by greed.
And how ironic it is for the company’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, to state: “The impacts of this uncertainty and the higher cost that comes with it are being felt far and wide. We have been engaging with governments, our customers, and suppliers to work through the challenging implications and provide support and solutions where we can.” How is it doing this? By postponing shipments and causing more disruptions?
When you realize that everything is being done on purpose to disrupt supply chains and financially devastate the average person so that he or she agrees to everything that is coming, it all makes perfect sense. If only it would temporarily ease the agony, that is.
And then they want to make us believe that this is not a manufactured energy crisis.