Norway\'s government intervened to end an offshore workers\' strike just minutes ahead of a threatened lockout at the country\'s oil production sites, the labour minstry said Tuesday. \"The strike is over,\" ministry spokesman Jan Richard Kjelstrup told AFP. Jan Hodneland, a negotiator for the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF) employers\' group, said the government made a \"responsible choice\". The Norwegian oil bosses had sought government action on Monday in a pension dispute with hundreds of workers that culminated in the industry lockout threat in Western Europe\'s largest oil and gas producer. The lockout to have been be enforced from midnight on Monday in what is also the world\'s second largest gas exporter, had loomed after talks between employers and unions failed to end a prolonged strike which began on June 24. Crude prices had risen on the news. More than 700 North Sea oil workers -- members of the unions Industri Energi and SAFE -- launched their strike in June. They wanted employers to reconsider a decision not to grant special benefits to those who wish to retire at the age of 62, three years before the legal retirement age in the field and five years before the country-wide age. The threat of an industry lockout forced the government to intervene at the last minute to find a solution to the crisis, OLF said, though details were not immediately clear.