US natural gas exports to Europe have surged.
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Natural gas prices surged as much as 9% on Wednesday as energy workers in Australia threatened to strike.Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, so potential work stoppages could threaten global supply of the commodity.Natural gas prices have surged 22% over the past week, but are still down 60% from a year ago.
The possibility of strikes at natural gas plants in Australia sent the commodity surging as much as 9% on Wednesday.
Workers at major liquefied natural gas plants off the coast of Western Australia have voted to inch closer towards a potential work stoppage.
If the strikes proceed and are long-lasting, it could have major implications for the global supply of natural gas heading into the typically high-demand winter months, as Australia is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, trailing only Qatar.
Natural gas prices hit a high of $3.018 per million British thermal units on Wednesday, representing the first time since March 3 that the commodity jumped above the $3 level. Natural gas prices are up 22% over the past week, but are still down 60% from a year-ago.
According to the Australian Financial Review, workers at natural gas plants run by Chevron and Woodside, an Australian energy company, are organizing for a strike. About 99% of 180 production employees at Woodside’s North Rankin, Goodwyn, and Angel natural gas platforms voted on Wednesday for protected action options for the first time in 30 years. Those protected action options include indefinite strikes.
The voting results mean that Woodside’s natural gas workers can stop work with seven days’ notice as early as next week, the Australian Financial Review reported. Meanwhile, hundreds of workers at Chevron’s Wheatstone and Gorgon natural gas facilities filed for a protected action ballot on Tuesday, which could ultimately lead to a potential strike.
Some of the sticking points in the union negotiations include higher pay for natural gas plant workers and restrictions against outsourcing jobs to contractors.
European countries are likely hoping for a quick resolution between the workers and natural gas companies, as they have become heavily reliant on liquefied natural gas since the Ukraine war began, as Russia has mostly stopped supplying the continent with its energy resources.
Shares of Cheniere Energy, a US-based exporter of liquefied natural gas, surged as much as 5% in Wednesday’s trading session. Shares of Chevron traded about 0.5% higher Wednesday afternoon.