Operations Continue at Shetland Gas Plant Despite First Strike Action

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Operations at the Shetland Gas Plant — the processing facility for gas supplies from Total’s West of Shetland gas fields — continue as normal, the company said Wednesday, despite workers beginning a first day of industrial action at the site.

A spokesman for Unite, the union representing subcontractors working for service company Aker Solutions at the plant, said the 24-hour strike in protest against new offshore work rotas had gone ahead Wednesday as planned.

But Total said the plant continue to operate.

“Given the nature of the roles carried out by those taking part in the industrial action we can confirm that production will continue from the gas plant,” a Total spokesperson said.

“We have carried out a full risk assessment and ensured that the gas plant remains a safe working environment for those who will remain at their posts,” the spokesperson said.

The first day of industrial action at the plant follows a 24-hour walkout by Unite members working for Aker and Petrofac at three Total-operated platforms in the North Sea on Monday.

Production from the Elgin-Franklin, Alwyn and Dunbar offshore facilities were also unaffected by the strike.

More 24-hour strikes are planned at both the Shetland Gas Plant and the three offshore platforms in the coming weeks.

The 14 million cu m/d capacity Shetland gas plant takes gas from Total’s gas fields in the area West of Shetland, including Laggan-Tormore, Glenlivet and Edradour.

According to the latest data from the UK Oil and Gas Authority, the combined output of the fields toward the end of last year was around 10 million cu m/d.

PREVIOUS ACTION

A dispute last year involving Total’s own staff at the three North Sea platforms did disrupt production, before eventually being resolved.

Both disputes have centered on Total’s decision to switch to so-called 3:3 work rotas, extending the length of time personnel spend offshore to three weeks.

Last year’s strikes at the three facilities reduced gas output by as much as 13 million cu m/d and oil output by around 70,000 b/d.

Unite on Monday threatened to escalate the series of strikes if workers’ objections to new offshore work rotas were not addressed.

Accusing Aker and Petrofac of refusing to negotiate, Unite regional industrial officer John Boland said: “Unite will escalate our industrial action over the coming weeks, causing widespread disruption until both Aker and Petrofac see sense.” Late Tuesday, Unite regional industrial officer John Clark said the first day of action at the Shetland Gas Plant would be “just the start.”

SCHEDULE OF UNITE INDUSTRIAL ACTION

24-hour strikes at Elgin-Franklin, North Alwyn, Dunbar

March 11

March 19

March 27

April 2

April

12 24-hour strikes at Shetland Gas Plant

March 13

March 27

April 10

April 24

May 8

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