Strikes that might have halted the majority of the UK’s gas imports from Norway have been suspended.
The industrial action that was scheduled to take place later this week has been halted, according to the Norwegian Labour Ministry.
Workers are returning to work as soon as they can. According to Lederne union head Audun Ingvartsen, we are stopping the anticipated increase.
The UK has no problems with gas supply, the Department for Business maintained.
According to ONS statistics, the UK imports around 50% of its gas, and Norway is the major provider, accounting for 77% of imports.
As many nations decrease their reliance on Russian supplies in reaction to the war in Ukraine, demand for oil and gas from Norway, Europe’s second-largest energy provider behind Russia, is strong.
The industrial action started on Monday following a pay dispute between the employer’s organisation, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, and the union Lederne, which represents oil and gas workers. The first phase forced the Norwegian energy company Equinor to shut down three of its oil and gas fields. More strikes were expected on Tuesday evening, impacting three more Equinor facilities. The union had threatened to take further strike action from Saturday if the dispute was not resolved. But labour minister, Marte Mjoes Persen, told Reuters the government had exercised its right to intervene.
“Norway plays a vital role in supplying gas to Europe, and the planned escalation [of the strike] would have had serious consequences, for Britain, Germany and other nations,” he said. “The volume impact would have been dramatic in light of the current European situation.” Reacting to the strike being called off, NOG, the oil lobby, said in a statement: “We are glad to see that the government understood the seriousness of the situation and acted to uphold Norway’s reputation as a reliable and stable supplier of natural gas to Europe.”
Norwegian gas arrives in the UK at two terminals – Easington in Yorkshire and St Fergus in Scotland. It was Saturday’s planned strike that would have affected UK supplies as it would have temporarily closed the Sleipner field – a key distribution point for gas exports to the UK. Norwegian-state owned Gassco had told the BBC “in a worst case scenario, from this Saturday there will be zero deliveries to Easington”, a gas terminal on the East Yorkshire coast, something reported by the Financial Times.
Although the operations at Easington would have only been affected by the prospective strike, Gassco said that Easington was by far the more important of the two, getting 80 to 90 percent of the gas from Norway.
According to the Department for Business, “We have access to our own North Sea gas deposits and the second biggest LNG port infrastructure in Europe, making our energy system one of the most dependable and varied in the world.”
Gas is transported by Gassco to nations around Europe, including Germany and Belgium. Up to 170 million cubic liters of gas, or over 50% of the company’s entire daily supply volume, are estimated to have been lost due to a strike action.