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Oil trade unions in Norway, the world’s eighth largest oil exporter, have threatened to go on strike in the next few days if negotiations with the national energy firms do not progress satisfactorily. The unions are demanding wage increases, better paid overtime, and the ability to retire at the age of 62. The Oil Industry Association (OLF) has already said they will not change their position on pensions, increasing the likelihood of a strike.
Gro Losvik, an official at Industri Energi, the largest Union taking part in the negotiations, admitted that “at this time I would assess the risk for a strike as 50/50. We have a plan for expanding the strike if we have to, but we are hoping to avoid this through negotiations.”
Any strikes to be held will initially take place at two the Statoil fields operated at Heidrun and Oseberg, which account for 150,000 barrels a day, about nine percent of Norwegian output and four percent of the total natural gas output.
The OLF estimate that at the beginning the strikes will cost about $28.61 million a day.
The negotiations will continue on Friday and Saturday with the OLF, representing the oil companies, battling against Industry Energy, the Norwegian Union of Energy Workers, and the Norwegian Organisation of Managers and Executives.
Current oil prices are trading at an eight month low, but could be set to rise if the strikes take place and restrict the supply of crude to the market.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com