The Norwegian government has stepped in to stop strikes that threatened to suspend UK gas deliveries.
Most of the UK’s gas imports from Norway could be cut off this weekend if strikes go ahead, says the company that transports gas between the countries.
Norwegian-state owned Gassco told the BBC the worst case scenario would see no gas deliveries to Easington, a gas terminal on the East Yorkshire coast.
The UK imports about 50% of its gas and Norway is its biggest supplier making up 77% of imports, ONS data shows.
The Department for Business said: “The UK has no issues with gas supply.”
A spokesperson added: “We have one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems in the world, with access to our own North Sea gas reserves, and the second largest LNG port infrastructure in Europe.”
Norwegian gas arrives in the UK at two terminals – Easington in Yorkshire and St Fergus in Scotland.
But while the potential strike action will only impact the operations at Easington, Gassco said that was by far the most significant of the two, receiving 80% to 90% of the gas from Norway.
A spokesperson for Gassco, who operates pipelines to the UK, told the BBC that “in a worst case scenario, from this Saturday there will be zero deliveries to Easington”, a line first reported by the Financial times.
The industrial action is taking place following a pay dispute between the employer’s organisation, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, and the union Lederne, which represents oil and gas workers.
The first phase of the strike action began on Monday, forcing the Norwegian energy company Equinor to shut down three of its oil and gas fields. More strikes are expected on Tuesday evening, impacting three more Equinor facilities.
The union has threatened to take further strike action from Saturday if the dispute is not resolved.
It’s this phase of strikes that will affect UK supplies as it would temporarily close the Sleipner field – a key distribution point for gas exports to the UK.
Gassco said the company was looking to mitigate the impact of strikes should talks fail and the weekend action goes ahead.
But it said it was difficult to compensate with supplies from elsewhere in the system when a hub, like the Sleipner field, goes down.
Gassco transports gas to other European countries including Germany and Belgium. It’s thought strike action could prevent up to 170 million cubic litres of gas from being delivered, around 50% of the total delivery amount from the company.