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Strike At Total’s North Sea Oil Platforms Ends

A 24-hour strike at Total’s oil and gas platforms in the UK North Sea-- Alwyn, Elgin, and Dunbar—ended as planned at 0500 GMT on Tuesday, but the platforms will need up to 24 hours to resume full production, a trade union spokesman told Reuters today.

On Monday, around 40 oil and gas rigs workers on the three platforms started the 24-hour strike after the UK’s biggest trade union, Unite, and Total failed to agree on pay and work shifts.

Due to the strike, gas flows to the UK shores were disrupted, but stored crude oil was expected to offset any impacts on oil supply at a time when supply disruptions around the world abound, spare capacity is thinning, and another disruption is looming with the reduction of Iran’s oil exports with the return of the U.S. sanctions.

The fields hit by the 24-hour strike account for some 10 percent of the UK’s gas production. Crude oil production at Alwyn, Elgin, and Dunbar pump up to 50,000 bpd to the Forties and Brent Blend crude streams—the key components of the Dated Brent benchmark.

The dispute arose after Total wanted to place workers at the platforms on a three-week rotation system instead of two.

“The dispute concerns the company’s wage review and its plans to force workers to increase their offshore working time,” Unite union said earlier this month, when it announced it would go on a strike.

Related: Is The Oil World In Panic Mode?

“There will be a series of 24 hour and 12 hour stoppages on the three platforms affected (Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin), all of which will be forced to cease production,” said the Union that quoted a report by Robert Gordon University as identifying that workers on three-week, equal-time rotas were nearly twice as likely to experience ill health as those on two-on-two-off shifts.

The 24-hour stoppages were planned for July 23-24, which already ended, as well as for August 6 and August 12. The 12-hour stoppages will be starting at 12.00 hours on July 30 and August 13.


On Monday, the GMB union of the offshore industry said that members working for Aker Solutions on the Equinor Mariner platform off the northeast coast of Scotland had voted overwhelmingly for strike action, likely to take place in the autumn.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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