Norway's oil industry in talks to avert strike by onshore workers

OSLO, June 19 Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:58am EDT

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OSLO, June 19 (Reuters) - Norway's oil industry started wage talks on Thursday with the country's main union of onshore energy workers who have threatened to strike if there is no deal.

The Industri Energi union said 175 workers from Mongstadbase AS and Polarbase AS could go on strike if there is no agreement in mandatory talks at the state mediator's office by midnight on Friday (2200 GMT).

Mongstadbase, north of Bergen, is part of the Frank Mohn group and Polarbase is the main hub for supplying the oil industry in the Barents Sea. These onshore bases supply oil platforms with everything from drilling fluids to fresh water.

Mongstadbase, for example, supplies platforms at some key oil and gas fields, including the Statoil-operated Troll. But the country's oil and gas industry association said there was no risk that a strike could disrupt production immediately.

"There is nothing to suggest that oil and gas will be affected by the strike," Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, which represents the interests of oil companies, said on its website.

A long strike could force some platforms to shut if they run out of vital supplies. Industri Energi represents about 1,000 workers employed at the supply bases.

Norway's oil industry averted a strike by some offshore workers on Wednesday, when it struck a wage deal with a union representing them. But a second union is still considering its options.

Another round of mediation between oil industry and another group of oil service workers is planned for July 4-5. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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