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Strike could cut Norwegian gas exports by up to 60 percent

A Norwegian oil and gas industry group said Tuesday that a strike by oil and gas workers, which has already closed three fields, could cut Norway's gas exports by more than half by Saturday.

Pictured is an oil rig in the North Sea
A potential strike escalation could half Norwegian gas exports. File Photo: A section of the BP ETAP (Eastern Trough Area Project) oil platform in the North Sea. AFP Photo / Pool / Andy Buchanan.

An escalation of a strike, in which 74 oil and gas workers are currently participating in, could end up halving oil and gas exports if the strike is escalated on Saturday. 

“Almost 60 per cent of gas exports from the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) will be affected when the strike action is stepped up further from Saturday,” the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said in a statement, adding it would mean a production loss of 341,000 barrels of oil.

The Norwegian Organisation of Managers and Executives (Lederne) has 74 members out on strike, which has shut down the Gudrun, Oseberg Sør and Oseberg Øst oil fields. More oil fields could close on Wednesday when 117 more workers at three other oil fields could go on strike.

More oil field closures on Wednesday would account to a 13 percent cut of oil and gas exports. This is equates to around 292,000 barrels of oil equivalents being lost. 

“Norway is known as a reliable and stable supplier of natural gas to Europe in a time of unrest and uncertainty. The consequence of this strike is very serious, especially for the UK, which gets a lot of its gas from Aasta Hansteen,” Kolbjørn Andreassen, communications manager for working life and operational conditions in the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said to newswire NTB. 

Lederne said that it hadn’t received a solid offer from employer organisations in the hopes of avoiding a strike escalation. 

The strike comes at a time when energy prices have already soared as a result of the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and associated sanctions.

“Norwegian deliveries account for a quarter of European energy supplies, and Europe is entirely dependent on Norway delivering as a nation at a time when Russian supply cuts have created a very tight market for natural gas,” the association said.

“A strike on this scale poses huge problems for countries which are wholly dependent on filling up their gas stores ahead of the autumn and winter,” it added.

Workers walked out after members of the Lederne union voted no to a proposal brought by mediators during wage negotiations.

Earlier on Tuesday, Norwegian energy giant Equinor said it had shut down production at three oil and gas fields after oil workers walked out following

According to the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, the extension of the strike to all the fields announced by the union would mean that “daily oil production of 341,000 barrels and gas exports of 1,117,000 boe per day are lost,” which corresponds to about 56 percent of total gas exports from the NCS.

READ ALSO: What does Norway do with its oil money?

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STRIKES

Teachers’ strike in Norway could escalate when new school year starts

The new school year in Norway could be marked by an escalation of a teachers' strike, which could see education professionals across the country join teachers in Bergen already on strike. 

Teachers' strike in Norway could escalate when new school year starts

A dispute over pay and wage growth could see teachers nationwide strike at the beginning of the new school year in Norway, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

“We have made a plan. I cannot reveal where, when and how many people will be affected by a strike. But it is only natural to imagine that an escalation will take place in connection with the start of school,” Steffen Handal, head of the Norwegian Education Association, told NRK. 

Currently, 40 teachers in Bergen are already on strike over wages. Handal says teachers have been the wage losers in the public sector’s last six collective bargaining agreements. 

“We are struggling to recruit and retain teachers. KS has made the teachers wage losers for the sixth year in a row. This is a policy that drives people out of the teaching profession,” Handal said. 

In May, the National Association of Schools, the Norwegian Association of Lecturers and the Norwegian Education Association came out against the deal, which the public sector accepted as a whole. 

KS, the organisation which negotiates collective bargaining agreements with the public sector, has warned that there isn’t really any room for negotiation. 

READ ALSO: How easy is it to work as an English teacher in Norway?

“The money has been used up,” Tor Arne Gangsø, director of labour at KS, told NRK. 

Kristine Nergaard, a researcher with Fafo, which researchers working life, warned that the strike has the potential to drag on once it escalates. 

“I think that it will last for at least two to three weeks from the time of escalation. Maybe more. It will also be difficult to manage this strike against the compulsory wage board,” Nergaard told union news site Utdanningsnytt.no.

The researcher added that unions could take the same approach as in 2014 when 7,000 teachers were on strike at the beginning of the new school year. 

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