Norwegian oil and gas workers went on strike on strike Tuesday (July 5) due to a dispute over wages, shutting three fields in the North Sea and causing a spike in natural gas prices. The disruption comes at a critical moment for the region as Norway’s oil and gas supplies have become more crucial than ever amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
Norway’s state-owned energy company Equinor initiated a safe shutdown of three oil fields due to the strike, the operator confirmed. The three fields produce the equivalent of about 89,000 barrels of oil a day, more than 30% of which is natural gas, Equinor said.
News of the strike helped push European natural gas futures prices up 5% to hit 172 euros ($177) per megawatt hour, data from the Intercontinental Exchange showed.
On Wednesday, Norwegian workers are due to strike again, which will result in the shutdown of three additional fields, Equinor said. Those fields produce the equivalent of about 330,000 barrels of oil a day, of which almost 80% is natural gas.
Another strike is planned for Saturday, which according to calculations by Reuters could shutter about a quarter of Norway’s gas output and 15% of its oil output. Equinor said that “consequences of this escalation are not yet clear.”
Norway was the second largest source of natural gas to Europe last year, after only Russia, according to Eurostat data.