Equinor says Norway oil production at risk from strike

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(Reuters) – A potential strike at Norway’s Mongstad oil storage and export terminal could close down major North Sea oilfields next week and also hit gas exports to Europe, operator Equinor said on Friday.

The Safe labour union, which plans to strike from Tuesday onwards unless a wage deal is reached in the meantime, warned on Thursday of potential output disruptions from the offshore Johan Sverdrup and Troll fields.

“A potential strike could reduce crude storage and harbour capacity at the terminal at Equinor Mongstad refinery, which could affect the production at several Equinor operated fields … including Johan Sverdrup and Troll,” the company said in a statement.

“It could be necessary to shut down production there until further notice,” Equinor said.

The Safe union in a statement on Thursday said it had sought to shield Norway’s gas exports from the strike at a time of high demand in Europe.

But Equinor said the planned strike, if it goes ahead, would likely have wider consequences.

“A possible strike could also impact gas exports from the Troll area, and could also impact the Kvitebjoern, Visund, Byrding, Fram and Valemon fields,” the company said.

Johan Sverdrup is Western Europe’s largest oilfield with output of around 500,000 barrels of crude per day. Troll is the region’s largest gas field and also produces oil.

Crude from Troll, Sverdrup and other fields is piped to a terminal at the Mongstad refinery, which has a capacity to store more than 9 million barrels, from where it is eventually exported to global markets.

Only a dozen workers are due to strike initially, but they are involved in the loading of vessels and in handling arrivals and departures of ships at Mongstad.

In case of a protracted conflict, a strike could spread to other onshore facilities, with as many as 800 oil and gas workers potentially involved, Safe has said.

Lundin Energy, a Sverdrup partner, in a separate statement said it hoped the oil industry would be able to reach a settlement with the union and thus avoid the shutdowns.

Other partners in Sverdrup are Aker BP and Total. In Troll, ConocoPhillips and Shell are among the license holders.

Reuters: reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo Editing by Diane Craft and Matthew Lewis


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