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Crisis Averted: Government Ends Norwegian Oil Strike

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Norwegian government intervened to prevent a lockout in the country's oil and gas industry, according to a statement issued by Statoil ASA.

Statoil and other companies were planning to shut down oil production unless the government could enforce a compulsory arbitration between the companies and the unions that represent more than 6,000 offshore workers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

During the dispute, which lasted a record 16 days, the unions demanded a retirement age of 62 instead of 65, while the companies insisted they were acting in compliance with the government's pension reforms, Businessweek reports.

Without the positive outcome, the lockout was sure to have, "vital repercussions for the Norwegian economy and also for securing deliveries to Europe," said Labor Minister Hanne Bjurstroem, according to Businessweek. A shutdown in Norwegian oil production could have caused a backlash for the U.S. and other economies as well. Norway is the world's eighth largest oil exporter, responsible for about 2.2 percent global supply, which is already stretched because of sanctions on Iranian oil.
 
Production is expected to return up to full speed within the next week, according to Statoil.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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