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Norway Oil-Service Slowdown Strike Unlikely to Hurt Production

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Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- A work-slow action by Norwegian oil-platform maintenance workers probably won’t affect production unless critical offshore repairs are needed.

The conflicts over wages at oil-service companies Bilfinger SE, Beerenberg Corp. AS and Kaefer GmbH, where about 1,400 employees have been working at 45 percent capacity for as long as four days, have caused project delays on ConocoPhillips’ Ekofisk and Statoil ASA’s Statfjord field installations, Safe union leader Hilde-Marit Rysst said today.

“Production would probably be impacted if you got a shutdown that required scaffolding for example,” Rysst said today by mobile phone. Oil companies will otherwise only face delays, she said.

The strikes in western Europe’s largest energy-producing nation arise less than 1 1/2 years after the country’s longest oil-worker strike disrupted output, prompting the government to intervene to avert a complete shutdown. Safe, the only union to be involved in the current strike, said yesterday it could hurt output within days.

“When it comes to production, this isn’t critical for our customers,” Thorbjoern Jensen, director for human resources at Kaefer, said in a phone interview. “The way we organize our personnel ensures this has minimal effect on our customers. We’re mainly involved in maintenance work.”

Fewer than 200 of about 1,000 Kaefer employees are involved in the slow-down, he said.

‘Small Consequences’

Some of Bilfinger’s 500 to 600 Safe-affiliated employees are performing tasks at Conoco’s Ekofisk field in the North Sea. “Work will be slower,” local Safe leader Lillian Bratholmen said. “But it’s very unlikely” it will affect production.

“It has small consequences for the time being,” Conoco spokesman Stig Kvendseth said, declining to provide more details.

Statoil’s operations haven’t been hurt by the strikes so far, spokesman Oerjan Heradstveit said in a phone interview. The company operates 70 percent of the country’s production.

The strikes are open-ended and there were no further negotiations scheduled between the parties, Safe’s Rysst said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mikael Holter in Oslo at mholter2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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