The energy crisis in Europe could have been worse if oil and gas workers had gone on strike.

The strike by the Lederne union could have had dire consequences. Russia is the second largest energy supplier after Norway, which is slowing natural-gas supplies to Germany.

About half of the country's gas exports would have been cut by Saturday. The UK and Belgium would not have been able to receive piped gas from Norway in the worst-case scenario according to Gassco.

341,000 barrels a day are cut from production by the employers' group if industrial action is increased. The intervention of the government averted that.

Norway's labor minister said that it would be indefensible to stop gas production during the strike.

In a situation where the EU and the UK are reliant on their energy partnership with Norway, production is falling dramatically.

The Norwegian government has the ability to intervene in labor disputes. The Lederne union and employers would have to agree on wages.

"Serious consequences of the announced escalations have forced my hand," said Mjs Persen.

The Lederne labor union represents 15% of Norway's offshore oil and gas workers. According to Norway's statistics agency, they were demanding wage increases to deal with rising inflation, which hit 5.7% in May. The proposed wage agreement was defeated by Lederne union members. There are other oil and gas labor unions in the country.

Lederne union leader Audun Ingvartse said in a Tuesday statement that he was surprised by the Norwegian government's intervention in the industrial action. The union members would return to work as soon as possible, he said.

Norwegian Oil and Gas is pleased that the government understands the seriousness of the situation and is acting to maintain Norway's good reputation as a reliable and stable supplier of natural gas to Europe.