Norway oil drillers may strike Sunday, no output impact

OSLO Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:18am EDT

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OSLO Aug 31 (Reuters) - Norwegian oil drilling workers may be heading for a strike on drilling installations operated by KCA Deutag on two fields in the North Sea on Sunday, but production will not be affected, a union leader said on Friday.

The 159 Norwegian oil workers await a labour court ruling on Friday, after the oil industry association (the OLF) challenged the move to strike as illegal.

The two installations - The Exxon-operated Ringhorne and Statoil-operated Kvitebjoern fields - were not part of an earlier oil workers strike that ended in July, and a strike would only affect drilling operations and not production.

"If the strike is found to be legal, then we proceed directly to the state mediators. If we cannot agree, then a strike is likely to happen," said Frode Alfheim, deputy leader at Industri Energi.

If the strike is legal, negotiations will go to the state mediators where the unions and the oil industry have until midnight Saturday to agree before a move to strike.

In July, a strike among Norways oil production workers lasted 16 days and stopped 13 percent of Norways oil production, only to be forcibly stopped by the government to protect Norways reputation as a stable exporter.

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