OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian oil firms struck a wage bargain with labour union officials on Friday, ending a 10-day strike that had threatened to cut the country’s oil and gas output by close to 25% next week, negotiators for each side told Reuters.
Brent oil prices fell by more than 1% on the news to $42.67.
Six offshore fields shut on Monday and a further seven had been scheduled to follow in the coming days, with the oil and gas outage set to grow to 966,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boed) by Oct. 14, the industry had said.
“We have a deal, there will be no (more) strike (action),” negotiator Jan Hodneland of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG) said after the talks ended.
The Lederne trade union confirmed the news.
“The strike is over,” union chief Audun Ingvartsen said.
Oil firms and union officials met on Friday with a state-appointed mediator to try to end the strike in western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producing nation.
Friday’s meeting was the first with the state mediator since the strike was announced on Sept. 30, although informal talks had been taking place.
Under the wage deal for offshore workers, Aker BP AKERBP.OL and Equinor EQNR.OL both agreed to include provisions for land-based staff at their onshore control rooms, the NOG said, a key demand of Lederne.
The settlement also included a commitment from oil firms to sign a broader, long-term agreement by April 1, 2021, the NOG added.
Wages will also increase, according to Lederne, although this was in line with what other workers in the industry had obtained, the union said.
The strike's first production outage began on Oct. 5, amounting to 330,000 boed, with an additional shutdowns due this weekend at six fields operated by Equinor, ConocoPhillips COP.N and Wintershall Dea.
Equinor’s Johan Sverdrup oilfield, the North Sea’s largest with an output capacity of up to 470,000 barrels per day, had been scheduled to close on Oct. 14 as a result of the strike.
Norwegian oil workers are among the highest paid in Europe but earn less than those in Australia or North America, a review of the latest available data shows. (Graphic: Norway's gas exports 2019, )
Additional reporting by Nora Buli, writing by Gwladys Fouche and Terje Solsvik; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Susan Fenton
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