OSLO, Norway — Norway’s government has stepped in to resolve strike action led by the Lederne union.
Without the intervention, said consultant Rystad Energy, the widespread disruption to various gas field/pipeline operations could have caused Norwegian gas exports to plummet by 56%.
The industrial action could have had knock-on impacts by the end of the week on major gas export pipelines such as Zeepipe and Langeled, and fields including Troll and Ormen Lange.
Workers should now return to their post, with a settlement between oil companies and Lederne set to follow at a later date.
The line managers’ union, which has more than 1,300 members, called the strike, demanding that proposed salary revisions keep pace with rising inflation.
According to Rystad, previous Norwegian administrations had intervened to end strikes for offshore activity in 2000, 2004 and 2012. The country’s High Court has ruled that the government can step in not only if life and health are at risk, but in the event of major socio-economic impact from strike actions.
Typically, Norwegian fields provide stable flows in the range 300 MMcm/d to 350 MMcm/d, Rystad said, adding that industrial action could have further disrupted EU gas supply and increased gas prices significantly from the current level of almost 10 times above the historic norm.
Further restrictions on Russian gas volumes could follow when the Nord Stream 1 trunkline system in the Baltic Sea shuts down due for annual maintenance next Monday, July 11.
Norway accounts for 23% of Europe’s gas supplies, and it had previously promised to deliver a further 20 MMcm/d to existing flows this year to strengthen supply security.