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Norway Averts Oil Strike At Its Largest Refinery

Representatives of a trade union and employer organization Norwegian Oil and Gas Association reached an agreement early on Tuesday, averting an oil workers’ strike at Norway’s largest refinery at Mongstad.

The dispute over pay between the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association and trade union SAFE was settled early on Tuesday after a state mediator was called in to help with the talks.

Equinor had warned last week that due to the dispute and the possibility of a strike, the industrial action could affect not only operations at the Mongstad refinery and its terminal, but also oil and gas production from major oil and gas fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

“A potential strike could reduce crude storage and harbour capacity at the terminal at Equinor Mongstad refinery, which could affect the production at several Equinor operated fields on the NCS, including Johan Sverdrup and Troll and it could be necessary to shut down production there until further notice,” Equinor warned on Friday.

“A possible strike could also impact gas exports from the Troll area, and could also impact the Kvitebjørn, Visund, Byrding, Fram and Valemon fields,” the Norwegian major said.

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Following the mediated settlement in the talks between the trade union and the employers’ association, the strike is now averted and doesn’t threaten production at some of Norway’s largest oil and gas fields, such as the giant Johan Sverdrup or Troll.

“We’re satisfied that the two sides have reached agreement on a new collective pay settlement for the next period,” lead negotiator Elisabeth Brattebø Fenne, acting director of organization and employer policy at Norwegian Oil and Gas, said today.

A few months ago, Norway wasn’t able to avert an oil workers’ strike caused by disagreements over a new pay deal for offshore workers. In early October, 8 percent of Norway’s oil and gas production, or 330,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), was shut in because of the strike, and there were fears that oil output at Johan Sverdrup may also have to be reduced. The strike ended after ten days and didn’t escalate as much as to cut off nearly 25 percent of Norway’s oil and gas production, as feared.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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