Norway’s offshore oil and gas strike delays exports, supports oil price image

A strike by offshore workers in Norway’s oil sector entered its second week on Monday and has begun to slow crude exports, Reuters reports.

The delay in loadings of Oseberg crude is the first sign the week-long strike has affected shipments from the world’s eighth-largest exporter.

“What the unions call a moderate stoppage has halted 15-percent of Norwegian oil production and seven-percent of its gas output. Apart from its major financial consequences, downing tools in this way is damaging Norway’s reputation as a stable supplier of oil and gas,”

Unions representing about 7,000 offshore workers on the Norwegian continental shelf, decided on Friday to refrain from escalating the strike to avoid intervention by the government, and to give more time for employers to return to negotiations.

But both the Industri Energi and SAFE trade unions said on Sunday there had been no fresh contact with the Norwegian oil industry association (OLF) so far.

Jan Hodneland, an employee policy official at the association, said in a statement that it appeared offshore workers were ready for serious talks.

“Their refusal to escalate the stoppage could mean that the desire to pursue a confrontation is minimal,” he said in a statement.

“Our door is open, and we would welcome a dialogue to end this dispute.”

Unions are demanding an increase in wages, better overtime pay and the right to retire at the age of 62 but the OIA has refused to negotiate pensions.