1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Norway's government ends oil and gas strike

July 5, 2022

The Norwegian government has intervened to halt a strike by oil and gas workers. The move came amid concerns that the strike could have worsened Europe's energy crisis, which is already aggravated by the war in Ukraine.

 A general view of the Equinor's Johan Sverdrup oilfield platforms in the North Sea
Equinor is responsible for around 70% of gas production in Norway Image: Ints Kalnins/REUTERS

Norway's government imposed a forced settlement in a dispute between striking offshore oil and gas workers and energy executives on Tuesday.

The move has put a stop to the strike, also easing fears that further strikes could have significantly reduced the Scandinavian country's gas output and lead to shortages in Europe.

What is the latest?

The Norwegian Labor Ministry moved to step in on Tuesday evening to halt the dispute, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported.

The country's government can step in and stop strikes in extraordinary circumstances.

Audun Ingvartsen, the leader of the Lederne trade union told Reuters that the strike had ended.

"Workers are going back to work as soon as possible," he told the news agency.

Members of Lederne had demanded wage raises commensurate with rising inflation. 

Equinor, Norway's largest gas producer and the second largest in Europe, initiated a safe shutdown of three oil fields due to the strike, the operator confirmed on Tuesday.

Another 117 employees were set to go on strike in three other oil fields on Wednesday if labor negotiations had not started.

Independence from Russian gas?

Concerns about energy cuts

The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said earlier that an extension of the strike from Saturday could affect almost 60% of gas exports.

From Wednesday, the strike would result in a loss of oil production of 130,000 barrels per day and a loss of gas exports of 292,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, the organization said.

Union leader Ingvartsen had said that he hoped talks with company leaders would resume soon, adding that the escalation was not designed to pressure the government to intervene and impose a settlement.

Info-graphic of gas imports in the EU
A reduction in oil and gas flows from Norway could intensify the global gas shortage.

How important is oil and gas from Norway?

Norwegian oil and gas supplies have become more crucial than ever amid Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine

The EU obtained as much as 40% of its gas from Russia prior to the war. Global boycotts by EU nations of gas supplies from Moscow have led to gaps in the global gas market. 

Russia also reduced gas deliveries via Nord Stream 1 to around 60% in recent weeks, citing a technical problem as the cause of the reduction. 

Fears of increasing supply shortages drove gas prices in Europe to a four-month high on Tuesday.

This price increase could have a resounding effect on inflation, as well as the value of the euro, which sank to a two-decade low versus the dollar following a surge in natural gas prices. 

asw/rt (dpa, Reuters)

Skip next section Explore more