Chevron, unions in final talks before planned Australia LNG strikes

(Reuters) - Chevron and a union alliance are holding a final round of talks before planned strike actions at two major LNG facilities in Australia as ongoing disputes over pay and conditions remained unresolved.

Workers will stop work and ban certain tasks from 1 a.m. local time (1700 GMT) on Thursday at Chevron's Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities and plan to escalate to a total strike for two weeks from Sept. 14 if their terms are not met.

Work will stop at the LNG facilities for seven hours on Thursday in several blocks, escalating to 10 hours from Sept. 8 to 13. There will be a single day with an 11-hour stoppage on Sept. 9.

Australia's industrial arbitrator, the Fair Work Commission, has been hosting mediation talks since Monday, and negotiations are scheduled to run on all days this week.

A Chevron spokesperson said on Wednesday afternoon there were no updates on the talks. The union alliance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Australia is the world's biggest LNG exporter and the ongoing dispute has stoked volatility in natural gas markets, as traders worry about the risk of long-term disruption.

Dutch and British gas prices slipped on Tuesday as high gas inventories and weak demand helped the market shrug off low supply from Norway and the threat of a strike at the Australian LNG facilities.

Chevron's Gorgon, Australia's second-largest LNG plant, and its Wheatstone operations account for more than 5% of global LNG capacity.

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