World oil prices slide as Norway strike ends
LONDON—World oil prices sank on Tuesday, with Brent sliding back under the $100 level, after the Norwegian government acted to end an oil workers’ strike that disrupted supplies to the market.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August dived $1.75 to $98.57 per barrel in morning deals in London.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for August, shed $1.08 to $84.91 a barrel.
A resumption of crude production in Norway after the government stepped in to end an offshore workers’ strike was pulling prices down, said Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist for ANZ Research.
“After the government stepped in and ordered a settlement to the strike, that’s returned one to two million barrels per day of oil to the market. That’s having a relatively bearish impact on prices right now,” he told AFP.
Authorities intervened just minutes ahead of a threatened lockout of Norway’s oil production sites, and ended a 16-day strike by hundreds of workers in western Europe’s largest crude exporter.
“The strike is over,” labor ministry spokesman Jan Richard Kjelstrup told AFP after the last-ditch deal, which had sent North Sea crude prices plunging below the key $100 threshold.
The workers wanted employers to reconsider a decision not to grant special benefits to those who wish to retire at the age of 62, three years before the legal retirement age in the field and five years before the country-wide age.
The lockout, which was to have been enforced from midnight on Monday, had loomed after talks between employers and unions failed to end the strike, which began on June 24.
Norwegian old giant Staoil, the group most affected by the strike, said in a statement that it was “preparing to resume production at installations that have been affected.”
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