Strike delays Åsgard B

June 15, 2000, 18:30 CEST

Completion of Statoil's Åsgard B gas platform in the Norwegian Sea has been hit by the present strike of offshore workers.

This means that the scheduled 1 October start to gas deliveries from the installation cannot be met.

More than 500 people from the completion project on the platform have been ashore as a result of the stoppage by members of the Federation of Offshore Worker Trade Unions (OFS) and the Norwegian Association for Supervisors.

None of these workers are on strike themselves, but are prevented from doing their jobs because 31 key people in the operations organisation have downed tools.

The operations team has been reduced from 67 to 36, a minimum level necessary to maintain safety on board.

Six catering workers have joined the strike on the adjacent Safe Britannia flotel.

The project organisation, which totalled almost 600 people before the stoppage, has been reduced to 74.

Project director Bård Heimset expects work to be delayed by the duration of the strike plus the week it will take to re-mobilise the organisation.

He says the risk of further delays will increase if the conflict proves long-lasting and project work must be delayed into the autumn and winter.

"Many of our activities are very weather dependent. Bad weather and high waves also require the flotel on which the project workers live to be disconnected from the platform."

Delays in starting gas deliveries from Åsgard B will have financial consequences both for the Norwegian government and for the licensees.

The loss of revenue in relation to planned sales is put by Mr Heimset at NOK 25-30 million per day.