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Norway oil-service worker strike may hurt production

BY MIKAEL HOLTER

STAVANGER, Norway (Bloomberg) -- A strike by Norwegian oil-platform workers that began three days ago may hurt crude and gas output in the country, western Europe’s largest producer of the fuels.

“The service level for day-to-day operations has now been halved,” meaning production at some facilities may be affected within days, Hilde-Marit Rysst, leader of the Safe union, said today by phone. “Platforms that have a lot of projects and modifications ongoing will notice it first.”

About 1,400 workers conducting insulation and maintenance work for Bilfinger SE, Beerenberg Corp. AS and Kaefer GmbH both off- and onshore are working at 45 percent capacity in a protest over pay. The dispute arose less than 1 1/2 years after Norway’s longest oil-worker strike disrupted production, prompting the government to intervene to avert a complete shutdown.

The effect on output from the current strike would vary from site to site, according to Rysst, who said Safe couldn’t comment on the potential impact to each facility.

The action has so far had no effect on oil and gas output at Statoil ASA, Norway’s largest energy producer, a spokesman said today. “It’s too early to say when it could have an impact or whether it will at all,” Oerjan Heradstveit said by phone.

The Stavanger-based company, which operates more than 70 percent of the country’s output, isn’t a party to the conflict.

“We are seeking to reduce the effect of the conflict on our customers but can’t avoid that the total production capacity is temporarily reduced,” Ole Klemsdal, a Beerenberg spokesman, said by email, referring to his own company’s services. No one at Kaefer and Bilfinger was immediately available to comment.

Bilfinger projects include work at Statoil’s Oseberg field in the North Sea and at its liquefied natural gas plant at Hammerfest in northern Norway, while Kaefer’s contracts include work for the Troll field, according to the companies’ websites.

There’s no end date for the strike and no talks are currently planned between Safe and the employers, Rysst said. Safe is the only union involved.

11/18/2013

 

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