Norway oil rig workers threaten strike if wage talks fail

Some 574 Norwegian rig workers could go on strike from next Thursday, potentially reducing oil production, unless a wage settlement is reached during talks with a state appointed mediator, three labour unions said on Thursday.

Some 101 workers on the Petrojarl Varg oil production vessel, which operates on behalf of Repsol, and 88 people on the Petrojarl Knarr, producing oil for BG, will go on strike if the talks fail, the Safe union said in a statement.

Both vessels are owned by Teekay Corporation’s Norwegian unit Teekay Petrojarl. Varg produced 6,000 barrels of oil per day in March, while the newly started Knarr is expected to gradually ramp up to 63,000 barrels per day.

In the event of a strike, the Safe members will be joined by 379 workers from the Industri Energi (IE) union, while the smaller DSO union said six of its members would also strike.

The IE and DSO workers are all based on four drilling rigs owned by Odfjell Drilling, Stena Drilling, China Oilfield Services and A.P. Moeller Maersk’s .

Negotiations between the unions and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA), representing the employers, are scheduled for June 24.

If there is a protracted conflict, a strike could ultimately escalate to around 4,900 workers, the unions have said previously, most of whom work on exploration rigs and related facilities.

Norway produces almost 2 million barrels of oil, condensate and natural gas liquids per day and is also a large producer of natural gas. – Reuters

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