By Gwladys Fouche, Nora Buli and Victoria Klesty
OSLO, July 5 (Reuters) – The Norwegian government on Tuesday intervened to end a strike in the country’s energy sector that had cut oil and gas output, a union leader and the labor ministry said.
Norwegian offshore oil and gas workers went on strike over pay on Tuesday, the first day of planned industrial action that had threatened to cut the country’s gas exports by almost 60% and exacerbate supply shortages linked to the Ukraine war.
“Workers are going back to work as soon as possible. We are canceling the planned escalation,” Lederne union leader Audun Ingvartsen told Reuters. Asked whether the strike was over, he said: “Yes.”
The labor ministry separately confirmed it had exercised its right to intervene.
“When the conflict can have such dire consequences for the whole of Europe, I have no choice but to intervene in the conflict,” Labour Minister Marte Mjoes Persen said in a statement.
By Saturday, the strike would have cut daily gas exports by 1,117,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe), or 56% of daily gas exports, while 341,000 of barrels of oil would have been lost, the Norwegian Oil and Gas (NOG) employers’ lobby said.
Oil and gas from Norway, Europe’s second-largest energy supplier after Russia, is in high demand as the country is seen as a reliable and predictable supplier, especially with Russia’s Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline due to shut for maintenance from July 11 for 10 days.
British wholesale gas price for day-ahead delivery leapt nearly 16%, though the price of Brent crude LCOc1 fell as fears of a global recession outweighed concerns about supply disruption, including the strike in Norway.
(Additional reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Jason Neely, David Clarke, Alison Williams, Barbara Lewis and Marguerita Choy)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022.
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