Norwegian offshore oil and gas workers struck over their pay Tuesday. This was the first day of a planned industrial action. It could reduce Norway’s gas production by nearly a quarter, and worsen supply shortages after the war in Ukraine.
According to calculations, around 15% of Norway’s oil production could be reduced by Saturday. This calculation is based on plans of union members to increase their actions over the next few days.
In Europe, Norway is the largest energy supplier after Russia. Norway is highly sought-after because it is a reliable supplier.
Although the British wholesale gas price for day-ahead delivery jumped nearly 16%, Brent crude oil fell as supply disruption fears outweighed fears of a global economic recession.
Escalation in three steps
The Norwegian Labor Ministry stated that it is closely following the dispute. In exceptional circumstances, the government can intervene to end a strike.
Ingvartsen, Union leader, stated that the escalation wasn’t intended to force the government to act and impose a settlement. He also said that he hadn’t been in touch with them.
He said, “Our goal is to get employers to talk with us and listen”
Oil and gas production will decrease by 89,000 barrels per day on Tuesday, according to Equinor, a Norwegian oil, and natural gas company.
Equinor and Norwegian Oil and Gas (NOG), announced that Wednesday’s strike would increase gas cuts to 13% of production.
According to them, oil production will be reduced by 130,000 barrels a day starting Wednesday. This corresponds roughly to 6.5% of Norway’s oil production, according to the calculation.
A planned escalation of gas production by Norway could cause a significant increase in oil production and nearly a quarter of its total output, according to the calculations.
NOG has not yet fully analyzed the implications of Saturday’s escalation, a spokesperson for the lobby group stated on Tuesday. He also suggested that other fields could be affected.
Equinor stated that the consequences of this escalation were not yet known.
Lederle represents senior workers offshore who are critical to operations. Industrial action in one area can have an impact on other fields that pump oil and natural gas through it.
Risk in more fields
At midnight GMT (2200 GMT), industrial action started in three fields, Gudrun, Oseberg South, and Oseberg East. The expansion to three additional fields, Kristin Heidrun, and Aasta Hansteen, will begin on Wednesday at midnight.
Tyrians, a seventh field, will also be closed on Wednesday due to Kristin’s processing of its output.
Due to strike action in other fields, the Sleipner and Gullfaks A fields and Gullfaks C field would likely have to cease production by July 9.
According to the calculation, if they shut down, it could reduce Norway’s oil liquids production by 160,000 boepd. Natural gas production would be cut by close to 230,000 boepd.
On Thursday, Lederne members voted down a wage agreement proposal that was negotiated by union leaders and companies.
Norway’s other oil and gas labor unions have agreed to the wage agreement and will not strike.