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Nilanjan Choudhury

Hundreds Laid Off as Norway Oil Workers' Strike Continue


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The Norwegian oil service strike is causing labor turmoil in the nation’s energy industry, sparking hundreds of layoffs.

Pink Slips for 350 Oil Workers

As per the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association – an industry forum for oil employers on the Norwegian Continental Shelf – approximately 350 oil-related jobs have been lost due to the strike that began on Wed, Sep 21. Of the axed workers, majority (or roughly 300) were from Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI - Analyst Report) , while local units of fellow U.S. oilfield services behemoths Halliburton Company (HAL - Analyst Report) and Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB - Analyst Report) accounted for the rest.

Reasons for the Strike

Called by the Norwegian Union of Industry and Energy Workers (or ‘Industri Energi’), the union representing service firm employees, the strike was implemented after wage talks broke down with the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association.

The oil companies maintained that they were not in a position to increase wage bills at a time when crude prices have more than halved in the last two years. This prompted Industri Energi to take out more than 300 of its members employed with large subcontractors – like Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Halliburton and Oceaneering International Inc. (OII - Snapshot Report) – to the country's oil and gas industry.

Oils-Energy Sector Price Index



Oils-Energy Sector Price Index

Strike Affecting Drilling Operations

The week-long strike has taken its toll on drilling and well operations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, where Norway’s entire oil reserves are located. Incidentally, Norway is the largest oil producing country in Europe.

With offshore installation jobs shut down and rigs stopping operations due to the strike, oil firms – already financially challenged due to the commodity price rout – have been forced to lay off personnel (they no longer require) to reduce losses.

More Layoffs to Come?

While the number of workers laid off as a result now exceeds the total who actually downed tools, the Association, terming the strikes as ‘unnecessary’, fears more such extreme steps over the next few days.

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