UPDATE 1-Petrobras union 24-hour strike fights asset sales, oil bill

viernes 24 de julio de 2015 10:26 GYT

(Adds union comment and Petrobras response)

By Jeb Blount

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 24 (Reuters) - Brazilian oil workers began a 24-hour strike on Friday in an effort to stop efforts to shrink state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, according to the main union representing the workers.

FUP, the country's largest oil workers union federation, said on Friday that workers on 15 oil platforms had laid down tools and that personnel at Petrobras' biggest refineries were also on strike. The strike is scheduled to end at midnight Friday (0300 GMT Saturday).

Petrobras said pickets at the gates of several installations tried to block entry of those wishing to work, but that the strike was moving forward "without any losses in production."

Petrobras officials have said that it takes about five to 10 days after the start of a strike for a walkout to have a significant impact on oil or fuel output.

The union is fighting plans by Petrobras to sell $15.1 billion of assets by the end of 2016.

Petrobras wants to pay down debt - which at about $120 billion is the most held by any oil company - as well as generate cash for investment and revive investor confidence after a giant corruption scandal.

FUP also opposes a bill before Brazil's Senate seeking to strip Petrobras of its right to run all new development work in a giant offshore area known as the Subsalt Polygon.   Continuación...