The oil workers’ strike could stop a quarter of production on the Norwegian shelf

Martin Linge fieldPhoto: Jan Arne Wold / Equinor / NTB
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There is little common ground in the talks between the Lederne trade union and the oil companies on the shelf when it comes to the contentious issue of creating a separate agreement for jobs on land.

On Thursday, there was still neither agreement nor negotiations between the trade union Lederne and the industry organization Norsk Olje og Gass. 

The parties are far apart in the requirement that employees who work on land must be included in the current shelf agreement.

From the night to Sunday, the strike will escalate. 

The full effect will be felt from Wednesday when almost 25% of all oil and gas production on the Norwegian shelf will be affected if the Johan Sverdrup field has to shut down its entire production. 

A total of 13 of the fields on the Norwegian shelf, most operated by Equinor, will be affected by the strike.

No negotiations

“There is contact between the parties, but no formal negotiations are underway,” information manager Kolbjørn Andreassen in Norwegian Oil and Gas (Norsk Olje og Gass) told news bureau NTB.

According to the employers, the conflict – which can stop the production of almost 1 million barrels of oil equivalents daily from next week – is about five employees who previously had their work tasks out on the shelf, but who will now perform the same jobs from control rooms on land. 

The Lederne union claims that they have been asking for a separate agreement for their members who have been affected by the change since 2017.

No will find a solution

On Wednesday, union leader Audun Ingvartsen in Lederne said that the employer side has not shown any real will to find a solution.

Ingvartsen noted that several union members are being moved from the shelf to land and that a deal would help them safeguard their members’ rights.

Andreassen pointed out that the employers’ side has already reached an agreement with the two largest unions on the shelf, Industri Energi and SAFE, which organize 85% of the workforce at sea.

Norway regularly produces just over 4 million barrels of oil equivalents every day. 

Half is in the form of crude oil and other liquids and half from natural gas. 

So far, during the strike, oil production has been affected by production stoppages somewhat more than gas production.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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