Gabon Oil Output Halted

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Oil output in Gabon, Africa's seventh-largest oil producer, has been halted due to a strike by the nation's oil workers. The lost output is equivalent to 240,000 barrels a day. The ONEP, the union representing Gabon's oil workers, has confirmed the strike and is demanding more workers in the country's oil industry.

ONEP, which represents about 4,000 of the central African country's 5,000 oil workers and has a long history of grievances over pay and local hiring practices, began the strike on Friday after talks about local hiring practices fell apart, according to Reuters.

In 2010, Gabon's agreed to a request by ONEP to limit the amount of foreign workers in the country's oil sector to 10% or less, but the measure was never officially approved, Reuters reported. While oil output in Gabon has been declining since 1997, income from the energy sector is a still a significant contributor to the country's national budget.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A) and France's Total (TOT), Europe's largest and third-largest oil companies, respectively, along with U.K.-based Tullow Oil are among the Western oil majors that are most active in Gabon.