A strike by workers at the Lindsey oil refinery in northern Britain continued Monday. Since the Jan. 28 work stoppage, so-called wildcat strikes have been launched in solidarity at other refineries and power stations in Britain, Scotland and Wales.
The workers are angry because foreign firms, using foreign workers, have been contracted for jobs in Britain.
British government ministers are calling on the European Union to change labor laws to resolve the issues, Scotland's The Herald reports.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, however, and many of his supporters have condemned the strikes, which extend to power stations and other energy-generating sites.
Protests are also taking place in Scotland in sympathy with the British strikes and are expected to expand this week to Parliaments in England, Scotland and Wales.
In Scotland about 1,500 workers have already walked out, including 700 at the Grangemouth refinery, some at Torness and Cockenzie in East Lothian, Longannet and Mossmorran in Fife, and St. Fergus in Aberdeenshire.
Bahrain, Shell sign gas deal
The National Oil and Gas Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Shell International Gas and Power Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the feasibility of gas projects in Bahrain.
Together, the two will look at ways to meet Bahrain's growing energy demand, including new liquefied natural gas supplies and gas pipeline and import projects, the Middle East News Agency reports.
"To meet our strategic objectives, we believe the country will require important energy resources that include clean natural gas," said Dr. Abdul-Hussain Ali Mirza, minister of Oil and Gas for Bahrain. "We welcome this agreement with Shell, a top player in the global energy business, and look forward to taking this agreement forward in the context of strong and effective partnership."
Shell officials also said they were looking forward to working with Bahrain's leaders.
ExxonMobil Corp. earned record profits in 2008
ExxonMobil, the U.S.-based oil giant, announced that it beat its own record profit, bringing in $45.2 billion in 2008.
The previous record was $40.6 billion, also by ExxonMobil, set in 2007.
The record profits were reached despite falling oil prices through the second half of the year, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
ExxonMobil said it earned $7.8 billion in the fourth quarter, down 33 percent from the same time last year. But during the first half of the year, ExxonMobil brought in enough money to offset a bad fourth quarter.
The company has not announced its 2009 capital budget yet but said it plans to continue buyback efforts.
"ExxonMobil's financial strength continued to support its disciplined capital investment approach in the midst of a growing global economic slowdown," ExxonMobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said.
Despite an increase in spending in 2008, ExxonMobil produced 6 percent less crude oil and natural gas compared with a year earlier and still managed to break its profits record.
Closing oil prices, Feb. 2, 3 p.m., London
Brent Crude oil: $43.94
West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $41.63