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Schlumberger, Halliburton Hit By Wage Strike In Norway

Halliburton staff

Over 300 of Norway’s oil industry workers conducted a walk-out on Wednesday after wage negotiations failed to produce an acceptable outcome for the Industri Energi trade union, according to a new report by Reuters.

“We strike because the Norwegian Oil Industry Association did not show any willingness to meet us at our moderate demands,” Ommund Stokka, a local leader for the trade union said.

A handful of wells on the Norwegian continental shelf will be forced to stop drilling as a result of the worker shortage, according to the oil and gas companies operating in the area.

“Supplier companies have been particularly hard-hit by the decline in activity on the Norwegian continental shelf,” Jan Hodneland, lead negotiator at Norwegian Oil and Gas, said.

Government-appointed mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland told reporters that the two sides have not come close to an agreement so far, though not for a lack of trying. The last round of talks lasted four hours longer than scheduled.

"They were too far apart," Ruland said in a statement.

Industri Energi represents 6,500 workers employed by 30 different companies. The union says it will escalate the strikes if an agreeable solution is not found in the near future.

Wednesday’s strike included 335 employees of Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Oceaneering and Oceaneering Asset Integrity.

A rise in wages and benefits would put pressure on oil companies’ already strained budgets due to the ongoing oil price crisis. Keeping wages at the current level would prevent further job losses, oil majors argue.

NOGA negotiated on behalf of oil companies, insisting that the union had proposed unreasonable wage increases during the previous round of dialogue.

"A conflict won't immediately affect the output of oil and gas from Norway's continental shelf, but may do so if the conflict escalates," the association added.

Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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