Negotiations between Norway's offshore oil workers and employers over pay and pensions failed for a third time on Sunday, risking a total shutdown of oil and gas production from Tuesday, both sides involved in the talks said.
The Norwegian oil industry association (OLF) and labor unions said they still could not agree on an early retirement option for about 7,000 offshore workers, the main sticking point in the dispute.
"The strike goes on. This is a very serious situation," Jan Hodneland, OLF's chief negotiator, said after 13 hours of talks, which ended early yesterday morning.
The government has the authority to force an end to a strike if it believes safety is being compromised or vital national interests could be harmed.
A spokesman for the Labor Ministry, in charge of monitoring the labor conflict, told Reuters on Sunday it had no immediate plans to intervene in the oil strike, which began on June 24.
The strike has already cut Norway's oil production by about 13 percent and its gas output by about 4 percent and affected crude shipments from the world's No. 8 oil exporter.
Norway is the second biggest gas supplier to Europe after Russia with most gas going to Britain, Germany and France.