Strikes Slow Vaca Muerta Operations

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Production and other activity around Argentina's huge Vaca Muerta Shale in Patagonia were affected on Tuesday by health care workers who blocked roads as part of a protest to demand better wages amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to sources and officials. The protests generated work stoppages and local fuel shortages, according to a local industry source. Labor strikes are common in Argentina, where companies are hard-pressed to grant wage increases in line with double-digit inflation. "More than 30 production teams had to stop drilling or completing wells," said the source who asked not to be named. The workers are demanding higher wages as Argentina is getting hit by a second wave of Covid-19 infections, saying they are not being properly compensated for the risks they are taking. Argentina has seen an increase in Covid-19 cases over recent days, with 57,957 Argentines having died from the virus so far, according to government data. The protest comes as Vaca Muerta, an area the size of Belgium, was beginning to show signs of reactivation due to improvements in crude prices and the stimulus plan for gas production established by the government (OD Mar.16'21). Officials in Neuquen province, where Vaca Muerta is partially located, asked protesters to relax the measures. "But this was not accepted by them. They strictly insist on a salary response," said provincial security chief Vanina Merlo said in a statement, adding that ground transportation interruptions had affected Vaca Muerta operations. Argentina's state-controlled YPF is among the main companies operating in the area. YPF declined to comment on the protests. (Reuters)

Security Risk , Shale
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