By Josh Owens
If the ongoing strike of oil workers in Norway extends for another week without a resolution, nearly 25 percent of Norway’s oil and gas production could be shut down, including output at the giant Johan Sverdrup oilfield, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG) said on Thursday.
The association is at odds with the Lederne union, which has refused to accept a new pay deal for offshore workers, while two other unions – representing 85 percent of the offshore workforce – have accepted the deal.
Lederne began a strike on September 30, and escalated it on October 4, resulting in the shut-in of 8 percent of Norway’s oil and gas production, or 330,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), some 60 percent of which is gas. The strike shut down four fields operated by Equinor in the North Sea, the Norwegian giant said on Monday, noting that production at the giant oilfield Johan Sverdrup “continues for the present.”
A total of 43 members of the Lederne trade union have been on strike at Johan Sverdrup since the middle of last week.
Lederne said on Thursday it would extend the strike from October 11 if the dispute continues, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said today, noting that in case of extension of the strike, more oilfields operated by Equinor will have to shut down, including the giant Johan Sverdup oilfield, as well as fields operated by ConocoPhillips and Wintershall Dea Norge.
“If the ongoing strike on the Norwegian continental shelf continues until 14 October, the Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea will have to close production until further notice,” Equinor said on Wednesday, noting that this is due to the scheduled rotation of personnel as there would not be sufficient capacity and competence in key operational functions.
“We hope that in the intervening period there may be a settlement between The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association and the union,” Equinor said.
“If the strike continues past 14 October, the loss of daily production would thereby total 966 000 barrels of oil equivalent,” or nearly a quarter of Norwegian oil and gas production, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said on Thursday.