Norway: Oil Workers Strike Could Shut Large Offshore Field


Oil workers organized by Norway's Lederne labor union will go on strike on Wednesday following a breakdown of wage talks, cutting Norway's crude output capacity by up to 470,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), the union and employers said.

The strike among 43 workers will trigger a shutdown of Equinor's Johan Sverdrup oilfield, the largest field in Western Europe, Lederne and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG) said.

Sverdrup's technical production capacity was increased to 470,000 bpd in April from an original 440,000 bpd.

The government recently said the field's output should be limited to an average of 415,500 bpd however as part of Norway's agreement with OPEC and other producing nations to curb output until the end of 2020.

Members of two other unions, Industri Energi and Safe, separately said they will not go on strike.

Norway pumps just over 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, half in the form of crude and other liquids and half from natural gas, making it a major global energy supplier.

The NOG said Lederne had demanded a larger pay rise for its members than the two other unions, although Lederne disputed that claim.

The union said companies had been unwilling to adjust contracts to reflect changes in work practices, adding that this would not cost more.

"This strike could be short-lived if employers were to offer a speedy resolution to what we have asked for during the talks," Lederne union chief Audun Ingvartsen said.

If all three labor unions had gone on strike, output would have been cut by some 900,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), NOG said in advance of the negotiations. NOG negotiated with the unions on behalf of the Norwegian oil industry. 

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by Victoria Klesty & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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