Norway: Oil Workers to Expand Strike if Wage Deal Not Reached

October 7, 2020

ConocoPhillips' Ekofisk complex - Credit: ConocoPhillips
ConocoPhillips' Ekofisk complex - Credit: ConocoPhillips

Norway's Lederne labor union will expand its ongoing oil strike from Oct. 10 unless a wage bargain can be reached in the meantime, it said on Tuesday, confirming a statement from the country's state-appointed wage mediator.

Six offshore oil and gas fields shut down on Monday as Lederne ramped up its strike, cutting output capacity by 8%, or around 330,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), according to the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG).

The planned Oct. 10 escalation would hit four additional fields operated by Equinor and ConocoPhillips but it was too early to say how it would affect oil and gas output, a spokesman for the NOG said.

The dispute began on Sept. 30 when wage talks between Lederne and the NOG collapsed, but the first production outages only started on Oct. 5.

Lederne earlier on Tuesday sent a proposal for a solution to the NOG, but its terms were not met, it later said.

"We received a reply from the NOG to our proposal, but it was not specific enough, and we have decided to escalate the strike," Lederne union chief Audun Ingvartsen told Reuters.

"I hope that the escalation could still be avoided if the NOG comes back with a better proposal," he added.

An escalation of the strike would add 93 more workers to the 169 who are already part of the conflict, out of a total 1,003 offshore members represented by Lederne.

Equinor's Oseberg South, Oseberg East, and Kristin fields, as well as the ConocoPhillips-run Ekofisk Bravo/Kilo installation, would be added to the strike, the NOG said.

The conflict gave a boost to global oil prices for a second straight day on Tuesday.

Gas supplies from Norway to the rest of Europe were recovering some lost ground on Tuesday, as producers ramped up production from unaffected fields.

Lederne is seeking better financial terms for its members and wants the offshore wage agreement to also cover workers at onshore remote control rooms.

Norway regularly pumps just over 4 million boed, half in the form of crude and other liquids and half from natural gas. 

(Writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche, Mark Potter and Peter Graff)



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