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Strike at Equinor's Johan Sverdrup Field

equinor
Johan Sverdrup (Equinor)

By The Maritime Executive 09-30-2020 09:59:45

Due to a breakdown in talks between oil and gas workers' union Lederne and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, about 40 workers at Equinor's Johan Sverdrup offshore field have downed tools, the firm said Thursday. 

According to Equinor, production continues as normal for now, and the oil major assesses that the newly-developed field can still be operated safely. However, project work has been reduced due to the strike.

Last night, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association reached a successful agreement with the larger trade unions Industri Energi and Safe, which represent other offshore workers at Equinor. 

"We are in a year where we are hit by a global pandemic and where both the industry and the community are burdened financially," said Jan Hodneland, chief negotiator for Norwegian Oil and Gas. "Nevertheless, [Lederne] choose to go on strike because they demand higher wages than everyone else."

Lederne ("Leaders") represents managers, engineers and skilled technical staff in a wide variety of industries across Norway. In a statement, union leader leader Audun Ingvartsen said that "the strike comes because we do not see the will to discuss an agreement for our members related to new forms of operation of the platforms." Lederne wants to see collective agreement coverage for its members who will be transitioning to work in control rooms on land rather than on board platforms.

If there is no agreement by midnight October 4, the union will extend its strike to four additional platforms. These include Gudrun (Equinor, 18 people), Gina Krog (Equinor, 18 people), Kvitebjørn (Equinor, 18 people) and Gjøa (Neptune Energy, 72 people). 

Hammerfest LNG fire extinguished

On Tuesday, Equinor announced that the fire at the Hammerfest LNG plant has been confirmed extinguished. An investigation into the circumstances of the fire is now under way, and the plant is shut down on an indefinite timetable. 

According to Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority, the blaze was detected visually in the air intake of a gas turbine at 1540 hours on Monday. The evacuation alarm was sounded and the plant initiated an emergency shutdown. The fire was confirmed out at 2130 hours and the plant is now in a safe condition. No injuries were reported. 

"The PSA takes a serious view of this incident, and an investigation team drawn from its specialist personnel is starting work now. In addition, the PSA will be supporting the police inquiry," the agency said.