Strikes halt North Sea oil production

Aug. 6 (UPI) — British trade union Unite on Monday waged a work stoppage on three oil platforms operated by French supermajor Total, part of semi-regular labor action.

Unite on July 23 called for a continuous ban on overtime hours as part of its ongoing dispute with the French company. A 24-hour work stoppage started at 6 a.m. London time at the Alwyn, Elgin and Dunbar fields, the labor union said.

Full-day work stoppages are planned intermittently throughout August. In production since the late 1980s, the North Sea area produces hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day for the French supermajor.

Total was among the first of the supermajors to release results from the second quarter. Compared with the same period last year, the company’s $3.6 billion in adjusted net income was up 44 percent.

Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said a realized average price for oil at $74 per barrel during the second quarter supported growth. The North Sea labor action was supportive of crude oil prices on Monday.

The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark derived from a basket of oil grades in the North Sea, was up about 1 percent to trade near $74 per barrel early Monday.

For production, Total reported output averaged 2.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, driven in part by operations in Canada and support from the Yamal liquefied natural gas project in northern Russia.

Total had no formal announcement on the labor dispute. When asked last week if labor strikes were still scheduled as planned, a spokesperson for Unite told UPI “there are no formal talks with Total planned.”

Unite is striking to protest wages and plans to force workers to put in more overtime.

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