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An oil workers’ union in Norway has threatened that some 150 of its members will go on strike if the union fails to reach an agreement on wages by Friday, Reuters reports. The potential strikers work on platforms operated by Eni, Shell, and Statoil. A strike will effectively shut down production from these platforms, a spokesperson for the union said.
The sides have until Friday to reach an agreement. If this doesn’t happen, the union’s members could go on strike on Sunday.
The five fields produce 326,000 barrels of crude oil equivalent daily, according to figures for March. To compare, Norway’s total average daily production in April this year was 2.111 million barrels of oil, condensate, and natural gas liquids.
Lederne, the union that is preparing for a strike, is the only one among the unions that last year had a long dispute with employers in the oil industry of Norway that did not reach a wage agreement brokered by the government last month. It is also the smallest: Industri Energi and Safe represent 87 percent of the country’s oil industry workforce.
Oil workers in Europe’s biggest crude oil producer went on strike last year over pay disagreements with their employers, amid a global cost-cutting drive in the oil industry. The negotiations dragged on, and there was worry that the strike would affect Norway’s 2-million-bpd crude oil output if it escalated.
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After the negotiations, Industri Energi and Safe both said they were disappointed with the outcome, but took what they were offered for lack of alternatives: the unions undertook to not strike again, as per an agreement closed with employers after last year’s events.
Lederne is the only union, representing some 1,000 or 13 percent of Norway’s oil workers, that did not sign that agreement, so the option of new industrial action is still open for its members.
Oil companies operating in Norway include, besides local state major Statoil, also BP, Exxon, Shell, ConocoPhillips, and service providers Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and Oceaneering.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.