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Oil and gas production at three platforms operated by Total in the North Sea shut down early on Monday for 24 hours as workers of the Unite union began, as planned, their 24-hour strike—the third 24-hour stoppage and the fifth strike in a month, due to a dispute with the company over pay and shifts.
The 24-hour stoppage is ongoing and “we have shutdown as a result,” Total told Platts in an email.
The Unite union confirmed that the 24-hour strike at Total’s oil and gas platforms Alwyn, Elgin, and Dunbar started at 05:00 a.m. GMT on Monday.
The fields hit by the strikes account for some 10 percent of the UK’s gas production. Crude oil production at Alwyn, Elgin, and Dunbar pumps up to 50,000 bpd to the Forties and Brent Blend crude streams—the key components of the Dated Brent benchmark. The strikes have not seriously disrupted Forties loadings, although some loadings delays have been seen.
Last week, the Scotland chapter of the Unite union said that the strike planned for today would go ahead, after a meeting with the French major to resolve the dispute over pay and shifts ended without an agreement.
The dispute arose after Total wanted to place workers at the platforms on a three-week rotation system instead of a two-week one.
“The dispute concerns the company’s wage review and its plans to force workers to increase their offshore working time,” Unite union said in early July, when it announced it would go on a strike.
At the meeting last week, Unite representatives “made a series of counter proposals to Total for consideration. The company will now consider these proposals and both parties will re-convene next Thursday (23 August) for further discussions,” the union said.
The union also announced “prospective industrial action” of 12-hour stoppages scheduled to take place in the next two months, on September 3 and 17, and on October 1, 15, and 29.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.