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Brazil oil workers may extend strike to refineries

SAO PAULO, July 15 (Reuters) - Oil workers in Brazil may extend a five-day strike that started in the country’s main production hub to the rest of the country and include refineries and shipping terminals, union officials said Tuesday.

Oil workers in the Campos Basin, which produces 80 percent of Brazil's crude, entered their second day of a five-day strike and said no sit down with the state-run energy company Petrobras PETR4.SAPBR.N was scheduled.

The national United Oil Workers’ Federation umbrella union, known as FUP, will meet Tuesday to discuss a wider strike over profit-sharing demands.

“Petrobras has said their offer is final, so we are now going to have some arm wrestling with them over that,” said Jose Genivaldo Silva, a director at the FUP. “Our strike proposal would affect the entire country and also include refineries and terminals.”

Petrobras implemented a contingency plan to shore up oil output with emergency staff on most platforms in the Campos Basin. The company said late Monday it was producing at 96 percent of its capacity of 1.8 million barrels per day.

Supply Director Paulo Roberto Costa had said output could recover fully by the end of Monday, but he and Petrobras officials were not available early on Tuesday.

“Petrobras has thin staffs that are not the best qualified people on those platforms. If something goes wrong, it will be a big problem,” said Aviraldo Menezes, director of the Norte Fluminense Oil Workers Union that covers oil workers on platforms in the Campos Basin.

A five-day nationwide strike of Petrobras workers in 2001 seriously reduced output and forced Brazil to import additional oil. Unions and the company have resolved their differences over the past few years without stoppages hurting production. (Reporting by Elzio Barreto and Reese Ewing; Editing by John Picinich)

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