Tension has broken out on the $US52 billion Gorgon project over maritime union accusations that employer group AMMA wants to cut some wages 10 per cent.
But AMMA claims it does not want to cut wages and has accused the union of exploiting a typographical error in a draft pay deal to mislead the public.
The dispute comes days after the union threatened a strike by 50 Gorgon workers employed by Tidewater after a year of failed pay negotiations.
The pay cut claim is based on the draft document "cooks, caterers, seafarers, offshore oil and gas enterprise agreement 2013", tabled yesterday by AMMA in pay negotiations between the union and Tidewater.
The 64-page document has a pay schedule for 90 per cent of wages from the first pay period.
But AMMA spokesman Tom Reid said the 90 per cent was simply a typographical error and accused the union of exploiting it to win public sympathy.
"The vessel operators have no intention of cutting wages," Mr Reid said. "It was a simple error which was clarified immediately, within minutes, both verbally and in writing, to the union.
"We are very disappointed that the Maritime Union of Australia has used this error opportunistically to mislead the public."
Mr Reid said the MUA's "misleading" actions contradicted it postponing its application to strike last week.
Public relations company Campaign Capital, for the union, said it was not a typo but a serious proposal that would affect 1300 workers if adopted across the industry.
The PR company said the draft did not refer to any pay rise in subsequent years.
MUA assistant secretary Will Tracey said the employers were planning a "last-minute ambush of hard working offshore workers and their families".
"After 12 months of negotiations, AMMA walked into a Fair Work conference and put a draft agreement on the table, calling for a 10 per cent pay cut," he said.The union is seeking 6 per cent pay rises annually for four years.