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Is The Norwegian Oil Patch About To See New Strikes?

An ambiguous threat of widespread strikes in the oilfield services sector has caused Aker Solutions and Kvaerner to seek out labor leaders to potentially quell the demands of disgruntled workers, according to a new report by Energy Voice.

Statoil, Aker BP, and Shell are also at risk of strike action.

Beginning Monday, Norway’s field operators, employers and labor unions will participate in wage talks to avoid strikes by an April 7 deadline. Pension reforms are also a concern for those considering strikes.

Labor union negotiator Asle Reime spoke to Reuters ahead of the critical summit. “We’ve understood that there is no real will among employers to compromise from the outset,” Reime said. “Pension rights are important to all workers regardless of which industry they are in, that’s why I think there is more weight behind the demands this year and also more willingness to strike.”

The nation’s oil and gas output will likely remain unaffected by the talks, but strikes could derail operations if an agreement is not reached by the deadline set for next month. Onshore processing and export facilities for natural gas production are particularly at risk for disruptions, but offshore workers have mostly opted out of the union movement. If the strikes do take place over an extended period of time, offshore workers could join in.

Related: Schwarzenegger Accuses Big Oil Of 1st Degree Murder

The world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund—Norway’s $1 trillion Government Pension Fund Global—expects large value fluctuations ahead, as it will rely more on the stock market value and less on income from Norwegian oil production, Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of the fund’s manager Norges Bank Investment Management, said last month.

“We have to expect significant swings in coming years,” Yngve Slyngstad said at a news conference in Oslo for presenting the fund’s 2017 report and results. “We have to expect value swings of more than 900 billion crowns (US$115 billion),” Slyngstad said, as carried by Reuters.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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