Norway Oil Strike Set To Worsen

Norway’s ongoing oil workers’ strike is set to shut more rigs on the Norwegian Continental Shelf as the employers’ association has not contacted the trade union for new talks yet.

“We haven’t been contacted by the shipowners yet. They have to make the contact, they know our demands. Could be a strategic move from them to reach out before we shut more rigs on Sunday,” Hilde-Marit Rysst, the leader of the Norwegian workers’ union Safe, told Reuters on Thursday.

Talks between the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association—the employers’ association—and Safe broke down on Tuesday, and more than 600 rig workers on nine rigs went on strike effective July 10.

The strike immediately disrupted production at the Knarr field, operated by Shell and producing 63,000 bpd of crude oil.

Safe’s leader Rysst told Rigzone that the assets currently shut are Island Well Server, Deep Sea Stavanger, Transocean Spitsbergen, and Petrojarl Knarr.

Safe has warned that the strike would be expanded to include an additional 900 members on 20 rigs as of Sunday, July 15, the employers’ association said on Tuesday.

“The consequence of failed negotiations is to throw an industry already under tremendous pressure into a destructive conflict that will cause great damage to its reputation, its economy, and not least to jobs in the sector,” said chief negotiator for the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association Jakob Korsgaard, managing director of Maersk Drilling Norge.

Unless the parties reach an agreement by Sunday, the union Safe has said that 901 more of its members will go on strike at midnight on Sunday local time, and affected rigs and projects will include Valhall IP, Snorre Alpha, Statfjord C, and Ekofisk X, among others.

Wage talks in Norway between trade unions and employers began in March this year. Unlike in the past, this year’s negotiations were centralized rather than done on an industry-by-industry basis, and there was temporarily a danger of as many as 35,000 workers in various industries walking out if the talks had broken down.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com