Photo: Gina Krog; Source: Equinor

Norway’s striking labour union, oil firms to meet with mediator

Oil firms and labour officials in Norway will meet on Friday with a state-appointed mediator to try to end a strike threatening to cut output from the country by some 25 per cent.

Six Norwegian offshore fields shut on Monday and a further seven are scheduled to stop operations in the coming days.

The oil and gas outage is set to grow to 966,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by Wednesday, 14 October.

Workers union Lederne wants to match the pay and conditions of workers at onshore remote-control rooms with offshore workers, as well as higher wage rises this year than proposed by oil companies which are represented by the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG).

According to an article by Reuters, Friday’s meeting is the first with the state mediator since the strike was announced on 30 September, although informal talks have been taking place.

The Lederne union said in an announcement on Thursday that it was hopeful a resolution could be found.

The strike has helped support oil prices this week, with benchmark Brent crude topping $43 a barrel. On early Friday morning, it was trading at $43.18.

A Reuters calculation based on output data showed that, if the planned escalation of the strike goes ahead, crude oil and natural gas liquids will account for about 70 per cent of the overall cuts with natural gas making up almost 30 per cent.

So far, the outage stands at 330,000 boed, with an additional six fields due to fully or partly shut this weekend, including one of ConocoPhillips’ Ekofisk platforms and Wintershall Dea’s Maria oilfield.

Equinor’s Johan Sverdrup oilfield, the North Sea’s largest with an output capacity of up to 470,000 barrels per day, is scheduled to close on 14 October.

Equinor, Aker BP, and Lundin Energy could see a fall in quarterly income per share of 4-6 per cent in the event of a 10-day strike, brokerage Sparebank 1 Markets said.