Brazilian oil workers have initiated a strike in protest against plans by state-run oil company Petrobras to sell assets. The National Oil Workers Federation (FUP) called for a strike Sunday, with workers at selected Petrobras units initiating job actions Monday. According to the union, as of Tuesday, the strike had shut down about 500,000 barrels per day of oil production, equal to about 25% of average national output. The union said it expects job actions to spread to other Petrobras units, including refineries, later in the week. In a press release, Petrobras said it was “studying the impact” of the job actions on production. The company said it was able to guarantee long-term fuel supplies to Brazil’s population despite the strike. Unions are protesting Petrobras plans to sell overseas and domestic assets in the face of steep losses in recent quarters. Petrobras has seen profits wither on lower oil prices, a write-down on asset values because of a corruption scandal and rising debt-service costs because of the depreciation of the Brazilian Real against the U.S. dollar.
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