Located at Vikan in Kristiansund’s Nordlandet district, the base is a wholly owned subsidiary of NorSea Group AS and ranked in 2017 as the main hub for offshore operations in the Norwegian Sea. Both the operator companies with permanent activity off mid-Norway (which includes Møre og Romsdal and Sør/Nord-Trøndelag counties) were then established at the base site.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Vestbase AS, downloaded on 11 January 2018 from its own website: https://www.vestbase.com/om-vestbase/vestbase-as (publication date unspecified).
Alongside these two – A/S Norske Shell and Statoil ASA (now Equinor) – came some 60 supplier companies who were represented on the site. The Draugen, Heidrun, Åsgard B, Njord and Kristin platforms as well as the Åsgard A production ship were being supplied from Vestbase in 2017. And it also supported subsea developments Mikkel, Ormen Lange, Tyrihans, Yttergryta and Morvin. When the decision to locate the Draugen organisation in Kristiansund was taken in 1988, the Storting (parliament) gave emphasis to the presence of a functioning base. The Bill on this issue noted: “The company points out that experience shows a compact organisation with operations office, base functions and heliport in the same place has positive effects for [these] units.”
Vestbase was selected by the Storting as the supply base for both the Draugen and the Heidrun fields on the Halten Bank in the Norwegian Sea.
Reaching this point had been a long trek. Efforts to turn Kristiansund into an oil base were driven by a small clique of forward-looking residents, who saw opportunities for the town as the “mid-Norway oil centre” from an early stage.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Those who want a more detailed description of the base issue in Kristiansund are recommended to read Hegerberg, H (2004). Et stille diplomati: Oljebyen Kristiansund 1970-2005. Kristiansund local authority. Large parts of this article are based on that work.
Local politicians started to work on this idea in 1970, which culminated at a meeting of the council’s executive board on 17 September 1970. The chief technical officer was asked to investigate and identify municipal and private properties able to provide quays which would be suitable for servicing oil exploration.
This “base decision” showed that Kristiansund wanted a special role if offshore operations were extended above the 62nd parallel (the northern limit of the North Sea). Read more in the article on opening this part of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). It is worth observing that this meeting took place less than a year after Norway’s first commercial oil discovery – Ekofisk, about as far south on the NCS as it could get – and nine months before that field came on stream.
Kristiansund’s new identify as a petroleum centre is so closely linked to this date that the town now celebrates 17 September as Oil Day every year. While the town’s oil committee took the initiative on this development, good collaboration between the council and local industry helped to lay the foundations for Vestbase.
When the facility could finally open a decade later, both these parties had invested large sums every year and devoted considerable work to turn it into a reality. Attractive sites were reserved from an early stage so that they would be available for establishing possible industrial activity at a later stage. While the chief technical officer identified potential sites, others made a big commitment in preparing and drawing up unified strategies and forging contacts with relevant players.
The local authority was well prepared and united when opportunities to attract petroleum-related operations arose. And the whole Nordmøre district also spoke with one voice here.
On 9 October 1972, council chairs from the region collectively identified Kristiansund as the natural base location for petroleum exploration off Møre og Romsdal. This was followed up by the county’s oil committee in the following February. Even more positively, the oil committees in both Sør- and Nord-Trøndelag called in March 1973 for the base to be in Kristiansund. This regional unity would prove important.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Solberg, J. (2009). Det Norske Oljeeventyret: En Analyse Av Den Petroleumsrelaterte Utviklingen I Midt- Og Nord-Norge.
To see how a small town in mid-Norway succeeded in winning the fight on this important issue of base location for the region, and later for Draugen, the process must be considered step by step. It took a decade, and many obstacles had to be overcome.
Kristiansund’s oil committee was formed in 1970 to secure a supply and service base for the town, and included mayor Asbjørn Jordahl from Labour until he was elected to the Storting in 1977. Other founder members were consul and shipbroker William Dall from the Conservatives (until 1980), and pharmacist and Liberal Otto Dyb (until 1995, chair from 1980).
In addition came chief technical officer Ole Gunnesdal (until his death in 1979) and council architect Kristian Sylthe (until 1991, when he left the local authority). During its early days, the committee received good advice from central government through confidential contacts with Oluf Christian “Ossi” Müller. Born in Kristiansund, the latter was now secretary general at the Ministry of Industry and friends with key members of the oil committee – particularly Dall, who he had been to school with.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Hegerberg, H. (2004). Et stille diplomati: Oljebyen Kristiansund 1970-2005. Kristiansund: Kristiansund kommune.
Müller also urged the town and committee to prepare sites for possible petrochemical industry. This called for much larger areas – 200-300 hectares and preferably port facilities for big tankers.
Kristiansund was a small local authority in 1970, covering just 22 square kilometres – making it Norway’s smallest incorporated town – spread over several islands. So it was not easy to find suitable land within the municipal boundaries. The only option for attracting large-scale industry to the region was to ally with neighbouring local authorities. A collaboration established with Averøy, Frei and Tusna functioned well, and yielded a joint document in 1972 where areas potentially suited for various industries were presented.
This work proceeded in parallel with identifying appropriate sites for a supply base. The oil committee believed in any event that such a facility should lie within Kristiansund’s boundaries. All possible and less-than-possible locations were mapped for a possible future exploration base. They had to be at least 0.8 hectares, able to provide a quay and lie within the town limits.
The first list from the committee included eight candidates, mostly in the town centre, with the former gasworks site in the urban core as the first choice.
A more detailed analysis admittedly showed that all eight were on the small side and offered little opportunity for expansion because they were hemmed in by existing buildings.
So the search continued, and new areas were mapped. Three additional sites were introduced in January 1971 – including the one at Vikan. An important document in this identification work was the general plan for area utilisation in Kristiansund, which the council had been working on since 1968 and published in 1971.
This divided the town’s restricted acreage into five “development guidelines”, with three defined as areas where employment activities would be concentrated. Nordlandet, the largest of the town’s islands, already had established industry and the largest amount of unutilised land suitable for industrial operations and jobs.
According to the plan, further commercial activity was to expand where it already from before. But a secondary centre for services and manufacturing would be created in Nordlandet’s Løkkemyra-Vikan area. So Vikan was in the loop as early as 1971.
The oil committee’s results were published in an advertising brochure for distribution to central government agencies and interested companies.
This aimed to acquaint Norway’s emerging petroleum sector with what Kristiansund had to offer for a future supply base when offshore operations moved north. Jordahl penned a covering letter.
An overview of potential base sites within the town limits was presented in the brochure. Although it was small, with limited expansion opportunities, the gasworks site – now a town-centre car park – found a place on the list.
So did Holmakaia, right behind the town hall, and naturally also Vikan. The latter area lay on the southern shores of Nordlandet.
Others get involved
The town council and its oil committee were not alone in preparing for a new era and a new industry. Kristiansund’s two big shipyards – Sterkoder and Storvik Mekaniske Verksted (SMV) – lay on the north side of Nordlandet and wanted their share of the oil cake.
Sterkoder and its CEO, Arnfinn Kamsvåg, mobilised early and tackled the issue on two fronts – becoming an offshore fabricator and establishing a service base.
For this purpose, the company secured a new site at Smevågen in Averøy, Kristiansund’s neighbouring local authority to the south-west. This island is linked to the town today by the Atlantic Tunnel, which opened in 2009. In the 1970s, however, communication between the two communities was still by sea.
Where a base was concerned, Sterkoder established a dialogue with Norsco – one of the three big companies operating bases in and around Stavanger. The idea was ultimately to combine the offshore workshop with a supply facility. But Kristiansund council and the oil committee were unenthusiastic about a base in Averøy.
For its part, SMV contacted North Sea Exploration Service, another of Stavanger’s base companies, and worked actively to get control of neighbouring properties at Dale in Nordlandet to build a supply base alongside its own yard. West Coast Service was established in the autumn of 1971 by SMV, with 40 per cent, North Sea Exploration Service, with 40 per cent, and Kristiansund Finans with the remaining 20 per cent.
This company represented a precautionary move in order to be ready when oil exploration eventually began above the 62nd parallel. It remained dormant, with a modest share capital. The oil committee was happy to see these signs of competition, at a time when no timetable had been set for extending offshore operations to the continental shelf off Møre og Romsdal. No White Papers had yet addressed this issue, and everything remained very uncertain. See the article on opening the northern NCS.
In order to realise its petroleum dream, Kristiansund had to get central government on its side. The town was very hopeful that the Storting would designate it as mid-Norway’s main supply base. The Ministry of Local Government appointed a joint local authority committee in 1972 to assess location requirements and choices for future bases above the 62nd parallel.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Ministry of Industry (1976). Petroleumsundersøkelser nord for 62°N, Report no 91 (1975-76) to the Storting, Oslo: 52. Downloaded from https://www.stortinget.no/no/Saker-og-publikasjoner/Stortingsforhandlinger/Lesevisning/?p=1975-76&paid=3&wid=g&psid=DIVL807.
Appointed at the initiative of Kristiansund native Müller, among others, this body established a number of general criteria for determining which town would be chosen.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Hegerberg, H. (2004). Et stille diplomati: Oljebyen Kristiansund 1970-2005. Kristiansund: Kristiansund kommune: 48 These include a central position in relation to the opened areas – in other words, those parts of the NCS where the government would permit future oil and gas exploration.
The chosen town also had to be close to an airport which met a high standard and provided the capacity to accommodate heavily laden aircraft. That was supplemented by a need for good communications by sea and land, where port conditions included quays and cranage for heavy lifts, and where land was available in reasonable proximity. Access was also necessary to well-equipped workshops and other industrial services, and the urban community should offer versatile service and environmental provision. The final – and perhaps most important – requirement was that the location for mid-Norway’s oil service base had to meet both oil and not least regional policy goals.
This list might have been written explicitly with Kristiansund in mind. Its airport had opened in 1970 and access to the sea was straightforward. Land links were more of the problem. The town was spread over three islands which were closely tied to each other, but would lack a road connection with the mainland until 1992.
The committee’s report, submitted on 27 October 1972, recommended Kristiansund as the site of a main service base for petroleum exploration off mid-Norway.
Regional policy considerations weighed heavily. A base “would be of great significance in strengthening the economic basis of the region,” the report noted.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Ministry of Industry (1974) Virksomheten på den norske kontinentalsokkelen m.v, Report no 30 (1973-74) to the Storting. Oslo: 56. Downloaded from https://www.stortinget.no/no/Saker-og-publikasjoner/Stortingsforhandlinger/Lesevisning/?p=1973-74&paid=3&wid=c&psid=DIVL920.
Kristiansund was in decline at the time, with industry contracting and unemployment high. At the same time, it was centrally located for offshore exploration off mid-Norway. Representatives from the town visited the industry ministry in December 1972, two months after the committee had presented its recommendation.
As we have seen, the town was a strong base candidate because it met most of the requirements set by the government. But this was not enough for the ministry – Kristiansund had to obtain collective support from the whole region.
The town took this challenge seriously. It contacted the other local authorities in Møre as well as the county governors of More og Romsdal and Sør/Nord-Trøndelag to draw up a joint plan for a regional petroleum policy. Møre og Romsdal’s county oil committee was the first to express its support on 6 February 1973 after voting five to one for Kristiansund as the main supply base. The dissenting voice came from Ålesund, the principal town in Sunnmøre further south, which was pursuing its own ambitions at the time to secure an offshore base.
Support from the region was one thing, but Kristiansund’s own council had yet to take a decision. This occurred on 7 February 1973, with a unanimous vote to support the base proposal. The resolution also stated that partners would be sought and that the council would begin talks with Østlandske Lloyd, part of the Fred Olsen shipping group, on building a base at Vikan.
With the signing of a letter of intent between these two parties, the council had indicated that it intended to allocate the area around Vikan for a future oil base.
Regional declarations of support continued to arrive. On 19 February, the Møre og Romsdal county executive board backed Kristiansund by 10 votes to one – Ålesund again in opposition.
The executive boards for Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag county councils followed with unanimous votes on 9 and 21 March respectively. Support from these mid-Norway councils increased the likelihood that the Storting would approve Kristiansund as an oil centre, and allow the dream to become reality.
No legislation existed in the early 1970s which specified that the Storting was to decide when and where petroleum bases could be built round the country. In principle, both local authority and private base companies could set up shop wherever they fancied. But some opportunities for official control nevertheless existed.
Being selected by the Storting did confer some advantages, such as access to basic investment through the Regional Development Fund and to favourable government loans. However, this was changed in 1973 when the ultimate decision on the positioning of main supply bases was assigned to the Storting.
To ensure greater powers over the location and number of major oil-related projects, the government introduced a temporary Act to regulate the establishment of companies.
That made the petroleum sector subject to more detailed regulation than any other industry in Norway, primarily to achieve efficient control of new and expanded operations in areas experiencing development pressure. This in turn allowed the authorities to keep total activities within the confines of overall national resources and to achieve a reasonable regional distribution of such operations.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Lunde, H and the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Labour (1974). Etableringskontroll og lokaliseringsveiledning, Norwegian Official Reports (NOU): 46. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo.
In regional policy terms, the Establishment Act was viewed as important for spreading more of the oil industry to economically underdeveloped areas.
The Act specified in part that “no development of bases for the petroleum industry … may be initiated before the King has given his consent.”[REMOVE]Fotnote: Ministry of Finance (1974). Petroleumsvirksomhetens plass i det norske samfunn, Report Nr 25 (1973-74) to the Storting: 80. Downloaded from https://www.stortinget.no/no/Saker-og-publikasjoner/Stortingsforhandlinger/Lesevisning/?p=1973-74&paid=3&wid=c&psid=DIVL658. Applications for such projects were to be sent to the local government ministry and submitted to relevant county governors and county/local councils. In other words, the central government would decide – in consultation with both counties and local authorities – who could be allowed to call themselves a “base town”.
The temporary legislation was replaced by a permanent Act on 20 February 1976. It lost much of its significance from the late 1980s and was repealed in 1994. After the boost provided by support from the rest of mid-Norway, the remainder of 1973 proved a time of waiting for Kristiansund council and its oil committee.
Everyone was waiting for clarification from the Storting on the location issue and for a decision to start oil exploration off mid-Norway.
The final settlement of the first question was provided on 15 February 1974, when White Paper no 25 on the place of petroleum in Norwegian society was issued by the finance ministry.
Known as the “oil report”, this recommended that “the area off Trøndelag and Møre will provide the basis for establishing a base in Kristiansund”. This decision aroused no controversy in the Storting, and was ratified unanimously. The mood in Kristiansund was naturally jubilant. But the celebrations were somewhat muted by the government’s simultaneous pronouncement that exploration above the 62nd parallel would start off northern Norway, and then move south. Admittedly, the White Paper said a rapid opening of areas outside the Møre/Trøndelag coast would be desirable. But it looked as if it might take many years for the first rig to show up there.
As long as the government refrained from allowing exploration drilling, no base would be needed. That depended on operations out to sea. The Storting’s standing committee on industry also supported the choice of Kristiansund as the main base location. Finally, the town had secured the acceptance it had been pursuing for so many years. But much work remained before the base became a reality.
White Paper no 25 was followed up by the industry ministry’s own White Paper no 30 on offshore activities, where specific proposals for the start to exploration were presented.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Ministry of Industry (1974). Virksomheten på den norske kontinentalsokkelen m.v. Report no 30 (1973-74) to the Storting. Oslo. Downloaded from https://www.stortinget.no/no/Saker-og-publikasjoner/Stortingsforhandlinger/Lesevisning/?p=1973-74&paid=3&wid=c&psid=DIVL920. Drilling would begin off Troms in the far north during 1975 or 1976, and outside Møre and Trøndelag at roughly the same time or a little later.
With only two years until activity could get going off their own coast and with the Storting’s blessing as a base town, the Kristiansund council could finally initiate construction. However, two key questions remained to be answered – where would the base be located, and which company was to build and operate it.
As noted above, the town council had voted in February 1973 that the area around Vikan was to be used for a base and signed a letter of intent with Østlandske Lloyd. Nevertheless, the oil committee was also working with West Coast Service at Dale in collaboration with SMV and wanted two areas to be put into operational condition. While Vikan was admittedly intended to be the main supply base in the long run, it was possible that a smaller facility at Dale would be needed in the first exploration phase.
In January 1975, the Kristiansund council made a formal approach to Statoil to establish collaboration over a service and supply base. The state oil company was positive. But wanted it to wait for the government and would not commit until the Storting decided when oil activities would begin off mid-Norway and how extensive they would be. This was due to be specified in a promised White Paper, and construction of a base could not begin until that document had been produced.
In early 1976, the council started work on an application to the Ministry of Local Government for a licence to set up a base pursuant to the 1973 Establishment Act, and for state funding. Just when everything appeared to falling into place, new obstacles arose. In particular, a decision on oil drilling in the north turned out to be taking much longer than expected.
This delay prompted Østlandske Lloyd to withdraw from the Vikan project on 26 September 1975, two years after it signed the letter of intent with the council.
The company was dissatisfied with the government’s policy on private-sector involvement in oil operations, while it also had financial problems because of a shipbuilding recession.
So what was the oil committee to do now? Its new plan aimed to put together a group comprising Statoil and other oil companies, local enterprises and the council to build and operate the base jointly. This facility was conceived as a combination of business park and base. To make the best possible provision, the council now acquired 180 000 square metres in Vikan for the project.
A budget for investment in and operation of the planned base area was presented in December 1975, and a construction project finally looked like getting off the ground. The first draft of a timetable was ready in January 1976. But Sterkoder had not given up. It also approached Statoil over a supply base on Averøy, offering the state company 50 per cent while it took 25 per cent and Kværner the remainder.
But the latter was not a natural partner for Statoil, and this proposal failed to win acceptance. Sterkoder and Kværner continued the work as a joint venture. This proved an eye-opener for Kristiansund. The town now had to decide if it was not to lose what had been sought for so long on the last lap.
The council and oil committee feared that exploration drilling would begin off mid-Norway before the Vikan facility was ready, and had to find an interim solution.
They turned yet again to SMV in order to lease quays and base areas until Vikan was operational. The yard was positive, and keen to negotiate a lease. In White Paper no 91 (1975-1976) on petroleum operations above the 62nd parallel, which finally appeared in April 1976, the ministry said it wanted only one base company in Kristiansund.
Involving local industry as much as possible in petroleum-related service operations was another of the conditions set. The council was expected to back companies which wanted to establish service functions on a base.
At the same time, the council was encouraged by the ministry to invite Statoil to collaborate on such a facility. The White Paper noted that the town’s oil committee was already in discussion on this issue with North Sea-West Coast Service and Atlantoil, as well as the state oil company. The most interesting section of the White Paper for Kristiansund detailed when drilling was to start. It finally announced that oil exploration off Møre and Trøndelag would begin at the same time as further north in 1978.
Statoil was to bear the main responsibility for such drilling and would be able to demand a 50 per cent interest, or more, in all production licences.
A preliminary design was now produced for the Vikan base, but this process made it clear that the 16-hectare site was too small. It needed to be at least 20 hectares.
In addition, it would be expensive to develop, the topography was irregular, the quays were difficult to access and had poor seabed conditions, and weather conditions were generally unstable. A bit late in the day to discover all this now.
Neither the oil committee nor the rest of the local authority could see any alternative within the town limits, and the committee found itself wavering.
It and the council had no other option but to look again at the costs of the Vikan site compared with Sterkoder and SMV. After some discussion, a lease of the Dale site was sought.
An oil blowout occurred in a well on the Ekofisk field on 22 April 1977. The offshore accident which everyone had feared was now a reality. Nobody was killed, but the 2/4 Bravo platform sprayed out oil for almost seven days. This incident sparked new debate on whether and when to open the NCS above the 62nd parallel for exploration.
On this occasion, however, the delay was welcomed by Kristiansund. After six years of work, no base existed yet and no company had been formed to run it. The oil committee, which had worked so hard and been so positive, was down for the count. But the autumn of 1977 marked a turning point for the town as a base. Fresh forces made their appearance – not least in the shape of Thor Sætherø, the council’s new chief financial officer.
He was a man with initiative and liked to operate on his own. After contacting both the ministry and Statoil, he agreed with the latter to launch preparations for establishing a base company. Under the agreement, this locally based enterprise would be a partner with Statoil but the latter would own at least 50 per cent. Kristiansund council and regional industry both had to participate.
The approach adopted in building up a base company utilised the model developed by Statoil for the support facility at Harstad further to the north.
Midt-Norsk Baseservice AS was formed in December 1978 as a local enterprise which would “work for the shareholders’ participation in and benefit from the activity which oil exploration and the possible subsequent production phase would generate”.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Hegerberg, H. (2004). Et stille diplomati: Oljebyen Kristiansund 1970-2005. Kristiansund: Kristiansund kommune: 114
The company was to provide the oil industry with information about what its shareholders could offer in the shape of goods and services, and forge contracts between them and oil companies. It would also organise inspection tours, study trips and conferences, and help to establish new enterprises which would be needed when oil operations got going. Another aim was to become a shareholder in the base company due to be set up.
In March 1979, a base site for the exploration phase had still to be chosen. Statoil aimed to have a facility ready for operation in Kristiansund on 1 April 1980. The oil company took the view that preparation of the Vikan site was now urgent, and should start not later than 1 July 1979. After nine years, time was suddenly short.
A formal decision to establish the Vestbase facility at Vikan was not taken by the council until 30 March 1979. Construction started on 30 July and the base was inaugurated on 27 May 1980.
Kristiansund council installed power, water and so forth, while Statoil – which leased the land – took responsibility for and funded development of the necessary base facilities.
In parallel, the final green light for exploration above the 62nd parallel was given by the Storting in May 1979. The deadline to apply for licences in these waters was set as 1 August 1979, with drilling to begin in May 1980.
The main job of Vestbase was to offer space and equipment at all times for supporting petroleum activities off mid-Norway. Facilities included personnel, outdoor storage and quays.
In addition came bulk warehousing with heated and refrigerated stores, offices, stockpiles of oil spill clean-up gear, transport equipment and containers. The base also offered a range of goods and services such as ship’s chandlery, technical maritime requisites, shipping agents, container services, steel rope and chain, and customs clearance.
It was initially owned 40 per cent by Midt-Norsk Baseservice A/S with 40 per cent, Statoil 40 per cent and Saga Petroleum 10 per cent. Vestbase functioned well from the start, but did not have that much to do. A total of 15.5 work-years were performed during the first year. Strangely enough, however, local industry stayed away. More companies eventually moved in. Activity at the facility fluctuated in line with operations off mid-Norway but did not really take off until Draugen came on stream in 1993.
Norske Shell was awarded exploration acreage outside the Møre and Trøndelag coast in 1984, and established an operations office at the base. By 27 July that year, Shell knew it had found oil and Draugen was declared commercial on 14 May 1987. That marked the start of the fight for the operations organisation and supply base.
Covering 600 000 square metres of harbour area, Vestbase is now the main supply base for petroleum operations in the Norwegian Sea. In 1990, it secured the transport assignment for the Draugen development – characterised as “the biggest contract so far in mid-Norway”.
This job was important not only because of its size, but also because it brought the base new expertise which would be very important for the future. The contract was secured at a favourable moment for Vestbase, and saved it during a difficult time. The company was split in 1994 into an operations arm (Vestbase AS) and a property enterprise (Vikan Eiendom AS). As the base has developed, other property companies have been established, including Vikan Næringspark Invest AS.
Vestbase AS is now wholly owned by NorSea Group AS, a leading national player for port and base operation.
Other important milestones for the facility include:
1995 Heidrun, platform, operator: Statoil ASA
1997 Njord, platform, operator: Statoil ASA
1999 Åsgard A, production ship, operator: Statoil ASA
The facility has developed from being a purely logistical hub into an operation and service centre for offshore-related operations. It is now a business park rather than simply a base, hosting more than 60 companies with 700-800 employees.
Its own organisation has about 210 staff, making it Kristiansund’s biggest private employer.
Operations during the first 20 years after 1980 related mainly to base and supply functions. But Vestbase has seen a sharp growth since 2010 in technical and other petroleum-related services, with more expertise-based jobs.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Bergem, B. (2013). Ringvirkningsanalyse av petroleumsklyngen i Kristiansundsregionen: Status 2012 og utsikter frem mot 2020 (Vol. 1306, Rapport (Møreforsking Molde: trykt utg.)). Molde: Møreforsking Molde.
Published October 5, 2018 • Updated October 9, 2018
by Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Overall responsibility for emergency response on Draugen and the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) between 62°N and 65°30’N lay with Kristiansund’s police commissioner from the mid-1980s. But no longer.
— From a storm in 2013. Photo: A/S Norske Shell/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
The government proposed a new police reform in 2013 which included merging the Nordmøre and Romsdal district with Sunnmøre, with the commissioner moving from Kristiansund to Ålesund.
These plans prompted outrage in Nordmøre and added fuel to the flames of an old local government dispute which has created and continues to maintain dissension in Møre og Romsdal county.
The presence of both Shell and Statoil has helped to propel Kristiansund to the status of the oil centre for this part of Norway. Responsibility for emergency preparedness in the area of the NCS lying roughly between Ålesund to the south and Brønnøysund in the north lay in the town for some three decades.
This region includes such fields as Draugen, Ormen Lange, Åsgard and Njord, as well as the Tjeldbergodden and Nyhamna gas facilities on land. Nordmøre and Romsdal was one on four police districts along the coast responsible for strategic and operational leadership of any incidents arising on an offshore installation.
The others were Rogaland for the NCS south of the 62nd parallel, Helgeland between 65°30’N and 68°30’N and Troms above 68°30’N and the seas outside Svalbard’s territorial waters. Rogaland police district, embracing Stavanger, has also been required to provide assistance in investigating major oil-related incidents above 62°N.[REMOVE]Fotnote: National Police Directorate (2011): PBS 1. Politiets beredskapssystem, del 1. Retningslinjer for politiets beredskap, 103.
The commissioner is responsible for the exercise of all police powers within their offshore area, and for the commitment of resources required to discharge duties on the NCS. They are also responsible for any post-response investigation.
In addition to preparing an updated plan for offshore emergency response, the offshore police district collaborates with the armed forces in exercises. It maintains contacts with the operator companies and sees to it that they also understand their functions during an actual incident.
The police are also charged with established reception facilities on land in the event of a possible evacuation following an offshore incident. They must keep in regular contact with the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), and have investigating officers with expertise on matters relating to petroleum operations.
Finally, each offshore police district must have service personnel with specialist knowledge for taking over an installation after a possible action phase.
The number of Norwegian police districts was reduced from 27 to 12 on 1 January 2016 in what has been called the “close policing” reform.
After Nordmøre and Romsdal was merged with Sunnmøre, as noted above, the National Police Directorate (NPD) wanted the headquarters of the Møre and Romsdal district moved to Ålesund. That came as no surprise. This is the county’s largest town and lies midway between Bergen and Trondheim. The NPD also maintained that it also had the biggest recruitment base. But the question then was where responsibility for petroleum-related incidents off the Møre and Trøndelag coasts should lie.
The government wanted the NCS split between two police districts – south-west run from Stavanger and north from Tromsø – but failed to secure Storting (parliamentary) support.
Offshore responsibility was to continue to be divided between four police districts. But would this remain in Kristiansund or follow the police commissioner to Ålesund? Kristiansund and its hinterland mobilised vigorously to retain the police commissioner and responsibility for offshore emergency preparedness.
A number of consultation responses emphasised the extensive response collaboration built up in the town over 30 years, which made it easy to mobilise resources and expertise. In the event of accidents, moreover, Kristiansund had offshore expertise, a heliport and plans for taking care of possible injured personnel.
This interaction with the offshore industry’s emergency response resources was regarded as significant for the police’s ability to discharge its NCS duties.
In the event of an incident, the companies could quickly install their liaison officers at the police station. This physical presence was important for optimal coordination.
Although the police had and have specialised expertise on petroleum activities, they depend on supplementary knowledge from the industry when accidents occur offshore or at land plants.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Consultation: Norwegian Official Reports (NOU) 2013:9 Ett politi – rustet til å møte fremtidens utfordringer. Comments from Kristiansund local authority and KOM Vekst (Kristiansund and District Industrial Forum) of 3 October 2013; Nordmøre and Romsdal police district of 4 September 2013; Orkide (assembly of council chair and local authority chief administrators in Nordmøre) of 2 October 2013.
The fear was that moving the police commissioner and thereby offshore responsibility would mean a critical loss of special expertise, reduced efficiency, loss of time and increased costs.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Inderhaug, Erik (2016): “Hvordan skal politiet sikre denne?” Politiforum. https://www.politiforum.no/artikler/hvordan-skal-politiet-sikre-denne/386956 (published 27 January 2016, downloaded 9 January 2018).
A transfer to Ålesund might sunder strategic and operational leadership in the police from the other response teams for offshore operations.
Staying in Kristiansund would mean that, within a few minutes of an incident on Draugen, the police could be physically present in the second-line response at Norske Shell’s Råket facility. For their part, Ålesund’s supporters argued that emergency response would related in most cases to a serious event which required the police to establish a crisis team.
Where this was led from would be a secondary consideration. The specialist team in Kristiansund could deal with offshore emergency preparedness regardless of where the commissioner sat.
Norske Shell wanted the police in Kristiansund to retain responsibility for offshore preparedness, and responded to the consultation even though it was not formally invited to comment. The company stressed the good collaboration its emergency preparedness team had with the Nordmøre and Romsdal district’s offshore division, and the importance of maintaining this.
It also complained over the lack of specific details on how important considerations were to be handled if the headquarters were transferred to Ålesund.
“Our experience is that the understanding of oil sector processes, planning, emergency organisation and industry terminology enshrined in the operations centre, staff functions and operative response leadership has been positive for handling and investigating incidents on the NCS,” Shell stated.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Inderhaug, Erik (2016): “Hvordan skal politiet sikre denne?” Politiforum. https://www.politiforum.no/artikler/hvordan-skal-politiet-sikre-denne/386956 (published 27 January 2016, downloaded 9 January 2018).
“Such expertise is built up through good communication and joint training. We would have wished to see a clarification of how this is envisaged in the future.”
Kristiansund has called on a number of occasions for more government and public sector jobs, and this was highlighted in the consultation response from the Kristiansund and District Industrial Forum (KOM Vekst).
The latter noted that Ålesund and Molde had received 190 and 139 new central government and county council jobs respectively in 2009-13, while the figure for Kristiansund was one.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Consultation: NOU 2013:9 Ett politi – rustet til å møte fremtidens utfordringer – KOM Vekst (Kristiansund and District Industrial Forum) of 3 October 2013.
When the town lost out to Molde in the fight over the Nordmøre and Romsdal hospital, the future for many expertise-based jobs vanished from the region.
Against that backdrop, the issue of the police commissioner’s headquarters generated strong feelings in Nordmøre. This involved not only emergency preparedness, but also local employment.
The outcome was that the police commissioner post was transferred to Ålesund together with a substantial number of jobs. A government decision to locate the police pay and accounting centre, with 70 employees, to Kristiansund was therefore perceived as a form of compensation.
That was denied by justice minister Anders Anundsen, who claimed that the move formed part of a 2016 agreement with the Liberal Party on decentralisation of government employment.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Written question from Ingrid Heggø (Labour) to the minister of justice and emergency preparedness. Storting, document no 15:1539 (2015-2016), 9 September 2016.
It quickly became clear that the town would only be getting 50 new jobs, since another department located in Stavanger was taking over part of the police pay function.
To compensate for the “loss” of the 20 promised posts, an equal number of additional jobs were created at the Kristiansund tax office. According to the council, the extra employment more than compensated for the reduction in police posts.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Kristiansund – information publication from Kristiansund local authority. No 7, July 2017.
Published March 20, 2018 • Updated September 23, 2020
By Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Platform construction and installation is not the only source of offshore waste. Day-to-day operation also generates both hazardous refuse and much ordinary detritus, sent ashore for sorting and deposition.
— Waste managment at Draugen. Photo: A/S Norske Shell/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Shell was the first operator on the Norwegian continental shelf to introduce waste sorting when Draugen came on stream, closely followed by Conoco on the Heidrun field.
Norske Shell had long been paying attention to the environment. This concern focused in the 1980s on production processes and limiting waste, but a shift occurred in the following decade towards products and ways of reducing consumption.
Goals for the company were to ensure acceptable disposal, while also minimising refuse-related costs through optimal sorting offshore and contributing to a system for reducing, reusing and recycling waste.
Employees were asked to concentrate on three areas – avoiding hazardous organic solvents, reducing the use of one-off items and preferring products which left returnable waste where possible.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Shell Internt, no 1, 1994, “Fokus på miljø”.
Extensive use of environment-friendly products represented one aspect of this commitment, but reducing consumption was considered equally important. A simple system for sorting waste based on separating it into different containers was instituted by Norske Shell on the Draugen platform from the start.
This proved both protective of the environment and cost-saving. Waste sorting was also introduced to the Kristiansund operations office at Råket and to Vestbase. Separating refuse in this way was pursued in collaboration with Renovasjon Nord AS,[REMOVE]Fotnote: Renord AS was its official name initially. a new privately owned waste-handling company in Kristiansund. The latter became a Norwegian environmental pioneer in 1990 when it built a recovery plant for industrial waste at Hagelin in its home town.
While a number of countries in continental Europe had already begun sorting such refuse, the infrastructure for doing so in Norway was poorly developed.
The Renovasjon Nord plant accepted all forms of industrial detritus – paper, plastic, wood, glass, cardboard and metals – and was based on manual sorting. These materials were sent to various recipients in Norway, Sweden and Finland for recycling.
Although starting with industrial waste, the company entered into an agreement with Kristiansund local authority which allowed the latter to introduce waste sorting in the autumn of 1990.
The sorting project was tested out on West Vanguard, the rig drilling subsea wells on Draugen, before being adopted on the field. This trial proved a success. Underlying the move was the hope of saving NOK 1-1.5 million through waste sorting – combining environmental concerns with financial benefits.
With interest in waste treatment and sorting growing among ordinary people and politicians in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Norske Shell and the Draugen organisation timed this initiative well.
“Sustainable development” entered common parlance in 1987 when it was introduced in a report from the UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development. This concept indicated that global development had to meet people’s current needs but avoid undermining opportunities for future generations.
The Norwegian government rose to the challenge and appointed a commission of inquiry to address such issues as how to minimise waste.
That covered reducing refuse at source as well as reuse and recovery of materials, while also minimising demands on society’s resources for waste handling and treatment.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Report no 44 (1991-1992) to the Storting: Om tiltak for reduserte avfallsmengder, økt gjenvinning og forsvarlig avfallsbehandling. Oslo, Ministry of the Environment.
A Norwegian official report (NOU) on waste minimisation and recycling appeared in the autumn of 1990.[REMOVE]Fotnote: NOU 1990: 28: Avfallsminimering og gjenvinning. Oslo, Ministry of the Environment, 3 December 1990. It marked the first overall assessment of these issues presented to the Storting (parliament).[REMOVE]Fotnote: Recommendation no 56 (1991-92) to the Storting: Innstilling fra kommunal- og miljøvernkomiteen om tiltak for reduserte avfallsmengder, økt gjenvinning og forsvarlig avfallsbehandling (Report no 44 (1991-92) to the Storting).
In 1990, the latter resolved that all local authorities in Norway would be required to draw up a plan for waste sorting by 1992.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Report no 44 (1991-1992) to the Storting: Om tiltak for reduserte avfallsmengder, økt gjenvinning og forsvarlig avfallsbehandling. Oslo, Ministry of the Environment.
Increased awareness of issues related to refuse, resource use and the environment was also reflected in the media, and leading Oslo daily Aftenposten ran a series on the “environmental office”.
Appearing in the summer of 1992, this tested attitudes and actions among chief executives in large Norwegian companies – what had they done or not done to make daily life more environmentally conscious at Norwegian workplaces. The sort of questions asked was whether waste paper was sorted, whether single-use or multi-use cups were provided for coffee and whether pens were throwaway or refillable.
Local authority plans for waste sorting were followed up by the Pollution Control Act of 1993, which again called for local councils to prepare waste plans by 31 December 1993. The government’s aim was that waste should cause as little harm and inconvenience to people and nature as possible, while costing a minimum to deal with.
When choosing between reduction choices, in other words, preventive measures would take precedence over recycling and environmentally acceptable final treatment.
The principal government strategy was to prevent waste arising, reduce the quantity of hazardous substances, promote recycling and ensure that ultimate treatment was acceptable.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Gjerde, Kristin Øye (2015): Sprenger grenser. Vann, avløp og renovasjon i regionens tjeneste: 105.
So waste sorting was not an unfamiliar concept in the early 1990s, but Norske Shell and its Draugen organisation were nevertheless pioneering industrial adopters of this approach.
They can largely thank Renovasjon Nord for this. The company saw the potential of rubbish at an early stage and built land plants for its satisfactory treatment.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Shell Internt, no 2 1993, “Milliongevinst for Shell”. It was both the first and the largest Norwegian specialist in handing waste from the offshore sector.
Published March 20, 2018 • Updated October 17, 2018
To encourage well-being and create a good atmosphere on Draugen, a commitment was made to light, open, well-ordered and aesthetically designed rooms with artworks to please the eye.
Architect Bernt Brekke coordinated work on the decor. Together with the rest of the architectural team, he produced a profile of how the platform should function in terms of decoration and furnishing. This included determining the artistic expression each of the public rooms should convey.
Since Shell wanted to make the maximum possible use of mid-Norwegian sources in building and operating Draugen, the Møre og Romsdal Art Centre (MRKS) was commissioned to manage the decor.
That followed six months of meetings and presentations between Sissel Hagerup Heggdal, head of the MRKS, Shell and Kværner Engineering, which was project manager for the platform topsides.
This was the first time the art centre had been responsible for adorning an offshore platform, and Heggdal and her artists quickly discovered they all had to relate to a new “language” and a world where efficiency and speed were key terms.
Rooms differed greatly in their design and purpose. The artists also had to come up with new techniques to satisfy requirements for evacuation routes and fire regulations. The platform’s living quarters included a library, lounge, pool room, gymnasium and mess, which were all to have their own artistic embellishment.
Interiors throughout were decorated in light and pleasant colours, with furniture and fittings of the best design and quality.
Gjertrud Hals from Aukra and Bergen-based Elly Prestegård won to the two biggest assignments for artistic decoration on the platform. Hals is a fibre artist who has developed her own technique based on paper, print, spray-painting and braiding. She created an artwork tailored to the 21-metre-high stairwell, which extended over five stories. Her starting point was the mediaeval poem Völuspà on the role of the volve (sibyl) and her prophecies in Norse mythology, and she incorporated several of its texts in her piece. The whole creation was encased in laminated plastic before installation.
Prestegård was responsible for the sky lobby, and is thereby the first artist to welcome the platform workers after their helicopter has landed on the platform.
Only one room in the living quarters is open to personnel in work clothes. The “dirty coffee bar” allows them to take a break without having to remove boiler suits and protective footwear. Its furniture is in steel and the interior can be hosed down. Anita Vik Wætten was responsible for its artistic embellishment and her watercolours are laminated onto Formica boards.
Søssa Magnus from Oslo and Notodden’s Steinar Klasbu were allowed to exercise their talents in the mess, while Roddy Bell from Bergen chose big human figures in physical activity to decorate the gym.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Sissel Hagerup Heggdal (1993).Kystens flytende gallerier. Årbok for Romsdalsmuseet og Fiskerimuseet på Hjertøya: 148-154.
Published March 20, 2018 • Updated September 3, 2018
Royal Dutch/Shell som i dag er et multinasjonalt selskap med hovedkontor i Haag og forretningsadresse i London, startet som en allianse i 1907. Da slo det nederlandske Royal Dutch Petroleum Company og britiske The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company seg sammen. Dette er historien om hvordan Royal Dutch/Shell Group vokste seg til å bli et av verdens største foretak, men også om de to som startet det – den ene fra Londons østkant, jødisk opprinnelse og ambisiøs. Den andre nederlender, med en hang for detaljer og tall. Mennene var Marcus Samuel jr. og Henri Deterding.
En gryende globalisering
Det hele startet i 1833 da Marcus Samuel sr. åpnet en liten forretning i Londons East End hvor han handlet med antikviteter, rariteter, konkylier og dekorative skjell. Skjell og konkylier var på moten i det viktorianske Storbritannia, og forretningen var lukrativ.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Cummins, I., & Beasant, J. (2005). Shell shock: The secrets and spin of an oil giant. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company: 32.
Den vokste til et blomstrende import- og eksportfirma, og Samuel organiserte en toveis handel mellom Storbritannia og det fjerne Østen. Tekstiler og maskiner til å bygge opp en industri gikk fra Storbritannia og i retur kom ris, kull, silke, kobber og porselen. Antall handelspartnere økte, og snart handlet Marcus Samuel over hele verden med mat, sukker og mel, og med skjell.
Da Markus Samuel døde i 1870 overtok sønnene Marcus jr. og Samuel firmaet. Den viktigste arven etter faren var et nettverk av agenter de kunne stole på i det fjerne Østen, samt andre forretningsforbindelser. I 1878 etablerte brødrene to selskap; Marcus Samuel & Company i London og Samuel Samuel & Company i Japan. Eldstebror Samuel Samuel flyttet selv til Japan og ble der i ti år.
På dette tidspunktet, siste halvdel av 1800-tallet opplevde verden en rivende teknologisk utvikling og gryende globalisering. Viktigst var kanskje kombinasjonen av stål og damp. Jernbane og dampskip revolusjonerte reising og økonomi. Nye typer skip som var både større, sterkere og raskere enn før krympet verden.[REMOVE]Fotnote: En viktig person var Isambard Kingdom Brunel, en engelsk ingeniør som var delaktig i en rekke byggeprosjekter i Storbritannia, blant annet broer, dampskip, jernbane og tunneler. Mest kjent er han for byggingen av Great Western Railway mellom Bristol og London, samt byggingen av det til da største skipet bygget SS «Great Britain». https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isambard_Kingdom_Brunel. I tillegg kom den trådløse telegrafen, som gjorde kontakten mellom Storbritannia, India, Kina, Singapore, Japan og Australia enklere. I 1869 åpnet Suez-kanalen og lasteskipene fra Europa trengte ikke lengre å seile hele veien rundt det afrikanske kontinent og Kapp det gode håp for å komme til markedene i Østen.
En annen nyvinning som har betydning for historien om Shell, er raffinering av olje som gjorde det mulig å lage parafin. Parafinlampen ble raskt førstevalget som lyskilde i europeiske og nord-amerikanske hjem, først og fremst takket være olje fra Baku. Dette førte til en ny handelsvare – parafin.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Abraham Pineo Gesner var en lege og geolog og regnes som den første grunnlegger av den moderne oljeindustrien. Gesners forskning på mineraler resulterte i 1846 i oppdagelsen av en prosess for å lage en type drivstoff av kull. Hans nye produkt, som han kalte kerosene, men som oftest ble kalt kullolje, brant renere og var ikke så dyr som hvalolje og planteolje som da ble brukt. Raffineringsprosessen ble utvidet til petroleum, hvorfra man også kunne lage parafin.
I 1886 tok Marcus Samuel jr. de første små steg inn i oljehandelen da han kjøpte små kvanta parafinolje fra Standard Oil og Jardine Matheson for salg i Japan.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Standard Oil Company var et amerikansk oljeselskap og den største organisasjonen av oljeraffinerier i USAs historie. Det ble grunnlagt i 1870 av bl.a. John D. Rockefeller. Selskapet ble oppløst i 1911. https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Oil . Oljeproduksjonen startet for alvor i USA i 1859 gjennom funnet i Titusville i Pennsylvanina. Han utvidet virksomheten ved å selge russisk olje fra Baku for familien Rothschild til land i det fjerne Østen og dermed bryte monopolet Standard Oil hadde opparbeidet seg. Standard Oil Company, som ble grunnlagt av John D. Rockefeller i 1870, hadde på 1880tallet kontroll over det meste av oljeproduksjon og -transport USA. Selskapet opparbeidet seg også på det meste markedsandel på 90 % av verdens oljeraffinering.
I 1890 reiste Marcus Samuel for første gang til i Baku. Han besøkte også Batumi ved Svartehavet, hvor den russiske oljen fra Baku ble skipet ut og eksportert til Europa. Han ble mektig imponert over omfanget av handelen og Marcus Samuel så potensialet for handel med parafinolje og det store markedet i det fjerne Østen.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Cummins, I., & Beasant, J. (2005). Shell shock: The secrets and spin of an oil giant. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company.
I 1870-årene hadde den russiske Tsaren opphevet det statlige monopolet på oljevirksomheten, og oljejegerne strømmet til Baku. De moderniserte både lete-, utvinnings- og ikke minst transportmulighetene. De viktigste aktørene var Nobel-brødrene Robert og Ludwig og Rothschild-familien som var – og er – en av verdens rikeste familier.
Nobel-brødrene bygget blant annet rørledninger fra brønnene til raffineriene og designet og bygget små oljetankbåter (Zoroaster) som fraktet parafin over Det Kaspiske Hav.
Rothschild fant en annen løsning og bygget en jernbane fra Baku til utskipningshavnen i Batumi. Selskapet deres Bnito kunne dermed konkurrere med Standard Oil i det europeiske markedet.[REMOVE]Fotnote: For å kunne delta i konkurransen bygget Nobel-brødrene en rørledning fra Baku til Batumi. Den var på 888 kilometer, hvorav hele 68 kilometer var i tunnel.
Parafin, brukt til både lys og varme, var på dette tidspunktet den eneste delen var råoljen som var av interesse. Den stadig mer industrialiserte verden viste en økende interesse for kull som energikilde, og det var knapt marked for olje som drivstoff. De tyngste delene av råolje ble kastet og gassen brent.
Amerikanske Rockefellers Standard Oil hadde nærmest opparbeidet seg monopol på parafinoljemarkedene i Asia. Det var både raskere og billigere for Standard Oil å frakte amerikansk parafin sjøveien til Asia enn det var for Nobel-brødrene eller Rothschild å frakte russisk parafin over land, noe som ville kreve store investeringer i jernbane. Alternativet var sjøveien fra Svartehavet rundt Kapp det gode håp, en lang og farlig seilas.
Familien Rothschild hadde likevel planer om å ta opp konkurransen med Standard Oil om Asiamarkedene. Rothschild henvendte seg til Marcus Samuel som hadde gode kontakter og et nett av agenter i Østen. Marcus så løsningen på transportproblemet – Suez-kanalen. Kanalen, som ble åpnet i 1869, hadde forenklet, og ikke minst gjort det billigere å sende varer sjøveien mellom Europa og Asia, men på grunn av sikkerhet var båter som fraktet olje forbudt. Marcus fikk den britiske skipsingeniøren Fortescue Flannery til å designe et skip som tilfredsstilte kanalens spesifikasjoner for sikkerhet. Skipet, som fikk navnet Murex, var både lengre og sikrere enn forgjengerne.
Arbeidet ble kronet som vellykket 24. august 1892 da Murex gjennomførte jomfruturen gjennom Suez-kanalen, lastet med 4000 tonn russisk parafin. Marcus kjøpte parafin fra Rothschilds oljeselskap Bnito og skipet den fra Batumi til Singapore. Prismessig kunne nå russisk parafin konkurrere med Standard Oil sin amerikanske. Prisen sank og Marcus Samuel økte raskt sin markedsandel.
Med sine nye skip fikk Marcus Samuel i tillegg en ekstrabonus. Tidligere gikk skipene som fraktet petroleum til Østen tomme tilbake til Europa, men med den nye designen kunne skipene frakte andre varer, som mat, tilbake.
18. oktober 1897 lanserte Marcus Samuel «Shell» Transport and Trading Company Limited, med aksjer fordelt på brødrene Marcus (7500) og Samuel (4500) og åtte andre investorer som fikk aksjeposter basert på størrelsen på deres utgifter. I tillegg ble det bestemt at stemmene til Marcus og Samuel skulle telle 5:1. Marcus Samuel ble med andre ord sittende med full kontroll på selskapet. Navnet ble valgt med bakgrunn i farens første handelsvare og skjellet ble valgt som logo.
Bakgrunnen for etableringen var usikkerhet rundt leveransene av olje. Marcus Samuel eide ingen oljebrønner eller raffinerier, og målet med opprettelsen av «Shell» Transport var å få tak i egen olje og kontroll over alle ledd i produksjon, fra boring til raffinering, transport, distribusjon og salg. I 1897 fant selskapet olje på Borneo, men oljen inneholdt lite parafin, men snarere mye bensin og toluen. Toluen er en bestanddel i petroleum som brukes til blant annet løsemidler, fargestoffer, legemidler og sprengstoff. Både bensin og toluen var på dette tidspunktet vanskelig å få avsetning på, men begge deler skulle, som vi skal se, spille en sentral rolle noen år senere.
Royal Dutch og Deterding
«N.V. Koninklijke Nederlandsche Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Petroleumbronnen in Nederlandsch-Indie», forkortet Royal Dutch ble etablert i den Haag i 1890 etter at selskapet hadde fått konsesjon til å bore etter olje på Sumatra i Nederlandske Øst-India. Grunnleggeren Aeilko Zijlker ga selskapet det lange navnet, oversatt til engelsk: Royal Dutch Company for Working of Petroleum Wells in the Dutch Indies.
Konsesjonen på Sumatra ble opprinnelig Aeilko Zijlker, en tidligere plantasjeeier i East Sumatra Tobacco Company. Han søkte lisens om å lete etter olje og gjorde et stort funn i 1885.
Først I 1949 ble det navnet offisielt forenklet til Royal Dutch Petroleum Company. Zijlker døde plutselig i desember 1890 og J.B. August Kessler overtok.
Kessler lanserte selskapets første merkevare som Crown Oil, men salgs- og distribusjonsnettet viste seg skrøpelig og markedsføringen var svak. Enda dårligere gikk det i 1897 da brønnene på Sumatra begynte å produsere vann/olje og tre måneder senere var de tørre. Royal Dutch måtte begynne å kjøpe russisk parafin.
I 1896 hadde en 30 år gammel regnskapsfører, Henri Deterding, begynt i selskapet. Allerede i 1901 ble han selskapets øverste sjef da Kessler døde. Deterding viste seg som en fremragende entreprenør med strategisk visjon og økonomisk bevissthet. Hans ambisjon var å bygge et selskap som kunne måle seg med verdens største oljebedrift – John D. Rockefellers Standard Oil Company i USA. For å konkurrere med Rockefeller og «Shell» transport, begynte Royal Dutch å konstruere egne tankbåter og lagertanker, og satt opp en egen salgsorganisasjon.
En begynnende fusjon
På begynnelsen av 1900-tallet var oljeindustrien i sterk endring. Den var blitt komplisert og politisert. For å kunne stå imot Standard Oil, som hadde gjort fremstøt for å kjøpe både «Shell» Transport og Royal Dutch, tilbød Marcus Samuel jr. Royal Dutch en forsvarspakt som innebar at de ikke skulle underby hverandre på markedene i fjerne Østen.
Marcus Samuel hadde på dette tidspunktet fått en ny idé, et fokus som skulle vare de neste 15 årene. I stedet for å raffinere olje til parafin, ville han bruke oljen som drivstoff i Shell sin egen tankflåte. Nobel-brødrene hadde tidligere vist at det var mulig på sine små tankbåter på det Kaspiske hav. Ideen vokste videre. Hvis det var mulig på en stor tankbåt, hvorfor ikke bruke olje istedenfor kull i den britiske marinen – verdens største marineflåte? Kampen for å vinne gjennom med den nye idéen kostet Marcus smerte, nedverdigelse og store tap før han omsider lyktes.
Han bestemte seg for at Shell skulle være i forkant på motordrivstoff, og startet bygging av petroleumsraffineri for oljedrivstoff. Han utvidet Shell-flåten og kjøpte store kvanta olje der det var mulig. Tankflåten ble organisert i et eget selskap, Anglo-Saxon Petroleum.
Situasjonen så bra ut for «Shell» Transport og Marcus Samuel jr. – men så skylte en bølge av hendelser inn.
I Kina ble lagertanker ødelagt i Bokseropprøret, et opprør som rettet seg mot vesten og deres forretningsmessige innflytelse i Kina som varte fra 1899 til 1901. I Sør-Afrika var det Boer-krigen mellom Storbritannia og Nederland som satte stopper for et helt nytt marked. «Den sorte uke» i desember 1899, led britiske styrker tre ødeleggende nederlag mot boerne. Det medførte oppgang for nederlandsk nasjonalisme i hele verden, noe Royal Dutch trakk fordel av. I India gikk investeringene i null da Burmah Oil fikk kontroll over parafinoljemarkedet.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Skotsk oljeselskap etablert i 1886. Og på toppen av alt var det en generell nedgang i verdenshandelen og shipping-ratene var fallende.
Framtiden så ikke lovende ut. For å holde selskapets fire største tankere i arbeid, begynte Shell å kjøpe parafin fra Romania som de solgte verden over. Som følge av denne handelen hadde Shell store lagre av parafin, da Standard Oil samtidig bestemte seg for å dumpe billig parafin i det europeiske markedet. I USA hadde etterspørselen etter bensin økt i takt med bilsalget, mens parafin ikke var like etterspurt. Elektrisiteten var nå på vei til å utkonkurrere parafin som viktigste lys- og varmekilde. Prisene på parafin stupte, med påfølgende store tap for konkurrentene. Særlig hardt gikk det ut over «Shell» Transport.
Så skjedde det som kunne bli redningen for Marcus og Shell. 10. januar 1901 sto en 40 meter høy geysir av olje opp av bakken i Spindletop i Texas. Marcus så dette som en fantastisk mulighet. Han inngikk en stor avtale som skulle strekke seg over 21 år om å frakte olje fra Texas. Men engasjementet i Texas endte katastrofalt. Overproduksjon ødela brønnene og i løpet av få år sank produksjonen drastisk.
Nedturen stoppet ikke med det. En av Shells tankbåter, lastet med parafin, grunnstøtte i Suez-kanalen og et annet av selskapets skip kom til unnsetning. Under pumping av oljen fra havaristen tok oljen fyr og begge tankbåtene brant opp. Resultatet ble at Shell mistet retten til å frakte drivstoff i bulk gjennom kanalen.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Cummins, I., & Beasant, J. (2005). Shell shock: The secrets and spin of an oil giant. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company: 87.
I 1903 var «Shell» Transport på konkursens rand. Samme år inngikk selskapet et samarbeid med The Royal Dutch Company for å beskytte seg mot Standard Oil sin dominans. De dannet the Asiatic Petroleum Company Ldt. med Rothschild som tredje partner. Det nye selskapet, med Marcus Samuel som styreleder og Deterding som administrerende direktør, samarbeidet om alle markeder i fjerne Østen. Men Asiatic var et samarbeid som bare knyttet seg til fjerne Østen, i resten av verden var Shell og Royal Dutch fortsatt konkurrenter.
«Shell» Transport gikk fra krise til krise, mens Asiatic, ledet av Deterding, fløy høyt.
I løpet av de neste tre årene profitterte Royal Dutch enormt på rike bensin-leveranser, mens Shell ikke var så heldige med sin satsing på fyringsolje. Etterspørselen etter dette produktet lå fortsatt i framtiden.
Shells olje på Borneo var, som tidligere nevnt, rik på toluen og bensin, men fattig på parafin. For å få avsetning på oljen forsøkte Marcus igjen å selge drivstoff til den britiske marinen, men også denne gangen var svaret nei. Toluen, som var en viktig ingrediens i sprengstoffet TNT (Tri-nitro-toluen) ble også tilbudt det britiske militære. Men også her var svaret et bestemt nei. Britene mente kvaliteten var for dårlig, samtidig som de heller ville framstille toluen fra engelsk kull. Både Tyskland og Frankrike ville likevel kjøpe. Kontraktene var så store at Shell kunne få bygget en toluenfabrikk i Rotterdam, Nederland.
Selv om dette var en stor avtale, var ikke det nok til å redde selskapet. Det var bare én måte å redde Shell på. Marcus Samuel gikk til Deterding og foreslo en sammenslåing av Shell og Royal Dutch etter mønster fra Asiatic. Shell sin økonomiske situasjon var så dårlig at Deterding kunne legge premissene for sammenslåingen. Royal Dutch fikk 60 prosent mens «Shell» Transport måtte nøye seg med 40 prosent. Samuel hadde ikke annet valg enn å godta forslaget. Shell skulle bli et holdingselskap under Marcus Samuel sin kontroll. For å sikre at Royal Dutch ledet gruppen til beste også for «Shell» Transport, kjøpte Deterding og Royal Dutch aksjer i det nye holdingselskapet.
Et selskap med flere ansikter
Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies (Gruppen) som ble resultatet av den store sammenslåingen, har aldri eksistert som en juridisk enhet. Verken Royal Dutch eller «Shell» Transport opphørte å eksistere da de formelt ble allierte 1. januar 1907. De forente sine interesser, men beholdt ulike identiteter. Hvert av selskapene ble dermed et holdingselskap snarere enn et driftsselskap. Leting, produksjon og salg av olje og gass ble fortsatt utført av en rekke operative selskap hvor Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company i London og Bataafsche Petroeum Maatschappij i Haag var de to første. Spesielt etablert for formålet tok de over nesten alle eierandelene til holdingselskapene. Anglo-Saxon eide og drev transport og oljelagre, mens Bataafsche eide og drev oljefelt og raffinerier. Begge selskapene var heleid av holdingselskapene med 60 -40 forhold etablert i betingelsene for sammenslåingen.
De to holdingselskapene Royal Dutch og «Shell» Transport lå i tillegg i organisasjonskartene under tre andre holdingselskaper; Shell Petroleum Company Ltd. i London, Shell Petroleum NV i Nederland og Shell Petroleum Inc. i USA.
Antall operative selskaper økte raskt og dusinvis separate juridiske enheter ble etablert over hele verden, noen heleid og andre deleid.
«Shell» Transport og Royal Dutch beholdt også separate hovedkontor i London og i Haag. Felles finansielle og kommersielle saker skulle håndteres i London, mens saker av teknisk betydning skulle behandles i Haag. På toppen av hierarkiet satt en komite bestående av administrerende direktører.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Cummins, I., & Beasant, J. (2005). Shell shock : The secrets and spin of an oil giant. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company: 102.
Selskapsstrukturen fikk, som vi etter vil hvert se, konsekvenser for hvordan selskapet ble drevet og for hvordan de kommuniserte ut til opinionen. Organiseringen førte til treghet i systemet, dårlig kommunikasjon og det en analytiker i Financial Times kalte «beklagelige beslutninger».[REMOVE]Fotnote: Financial Times (2004. 9. oktober.).Shell to embark on radical overhaul.
Gruppen opplevde rask framgang under ledelse av Deterding. De totale eierandeler til Royal Dutch og «Shell» Transport vokste over to og en halv gang mellom 1907 og 1914. Det ble bestemt å utvide området for aktiviteter og tilføre nye kilder for råolje og få de voksende raffineriene under sentral kontroll. Det skulle dekke en økende etterspørsel over hele verden. Gruppen fikk kontroll over store produksjonsinteresser i Romania (1906), Russland (1910), Egypt (1911), Venezuela (1913) og Trinidad (1914), mens interesseområdene i Indonesia ble utvidet. Samtidig ble det bestemt å gå inn i Standard Oils kjerneområde. I 1912 ble Roxana Petroleum Company dannet for å operere i Oklahoma og det britiske American Gasoline Company i California ble kjøpt i 1913, samtidig som oljeproduserende områder ble kjøpt og operasjoner utvidet i sentrale USA. Ved utgangen av 1915 produserte gruppen nesten seks millioner fat råolje per år i USA. Selskapet utvidet også distribusjonsnettet i flere land. Til Norge kom Shell i oktober 1912 under navnet «Norsk Engelsk Mineralolie Aktieselskap (NEMAK). (se egen artikkel)
Fra 1900 og utover vokste antall biler og motorsykler i den vestlige verden raskt, og dermed også etterspørselen etter drivstoff. Samtidig falt salget av parafinolje dramatisk da glødepæren og elektrisiteten bredde om seg. Bensin til fly ble også etter hvert lønnsomt. Og ikke minst – den britiske marinen innså omsider fordelene med oljefyrte marinefartøy. En kongelig kommisjon anbefalte i 1912 fyringsolje for den britiske marinen. Winston Churchill var marineminister i Storbritannia og hadde vært i Marokko under urolighetene der og sett den tyske krigsflåten som gikk på fyringsolje. Skipenes fart overveldet Churchill. Den britiske marine brukte kull som drivstoff og hadde derfor en mye lavere toppfart (10 knop mot 35 knop). Marcus Samuel så sitt snitt og la press på Churchill for å få den britiske marine til å gå over fra kull til fyringsolje. Selv om det i begynnelsen kun var små kvanta fyringsolje som ble bestilt fra Shell, pekte handelen inn i framtiden.[REMOVE]Fotnote: BBC. (2016, 31. August) Planet Oil. The Treasure That Conquered the World. Episode 1.
Fire måneder ut i den første verdenskrig var Storbritannia nesten tomme for strengstoffet TNT. Det britiske militære henvendte seg Samuel, som løste problemet med å, i all hemmelighet, flytte tolvonfabrikken i Rotterdam til Storbritannia. Selskapet bygget også en egen nitratfabrikk for å utnytte tolvonen til å produsere 450 tonn TNT i måneden. Og Shell bygget stadig nye fabrikker. Royal Dutch/Shell group var også eneste leverandør av flydrivstoff.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Cummins, I., & Beasant, J. (2005). Shell shock: The secrets and spin of an oil giant. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company: 105.
Den store krigen
Første verdenskrig resulterte i blandede resultater for Shell-gruppen, men var med å forme det nye selskapet. Med den tyske invasjonen i Romania ble 17 prosent av gruppens produksjonsfasiliteter ødelagt i løpet av et par dager, og i Russland sørget revolusjonen for at alle eiendeler ble konfiskert.[REMOVE]Fotnote: http://www.shell.com/about-us/who-we-are/the-early-20th-century.html I Venezuela førte vansker med utstyr til at produksjonen ble forsinket til sent i krigen.
Britiske embetsmenn og ministre anklaget selskapet for å være pro-tyske og formidle olje til fienden gjennom datterselskap i nøytrale land. Det ble gjort forsøk på å slå selskapet sammen med Anglo-Perian Oil Company, Burmah Oil eller andre britiske interesser for å gjøre selskapet britisk. Forsøkene mislyktes, og på tross av selskapets ulike eiere, spilte gruppen en viktig rolle i de alliertes krigsinnsats. På den positive siden skjedde oppbyggingen av eierinteressene i USA og i fjerne Østen.
Shell-gruppen bidro med en viktig krigsinnsats for de allierte. De ble leverandør av drivstoff til den britiske styrkene og den var den eneste leverandør av flydrivstoff. 80 prosent av den britiske hærens TNT kom fra Shell-gruppens fabrikker. Ikke minst stilte gruppen alle sine skip til disposisjon for den britiske flåten. Krigsinnsatsen forbedret Shell-gruppens rykte og etter krigen ble Deterding, som fikk kallenavnet «Oljens Napoleon» utnevnt som Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Vekst og fall
I 1919 brukte britene Alcock og Brown drivstoff fra Shell i den første non-stop flygningen over Atlanterhavet. Shell brukte hendelsen for det den var verd i markedsføring. Det følgende tiåret ble preget av vekst. Hele oljeindustrien ekspanderte gjennom økt salg av biler og økende etterspørsel etter drivstoff. Shell-gruppen innhentet også store gevinster fra nyoppdagede oljefelt i California, Venezuela og Midtøsten. Selskapet startet satsning på kjemisk industri gjennom opprettelsen av NV Mekog i Nederland og Shell Chemical Company i USA. Begge selskapene skulle produsere nitrogenholdig gjødsel. Selskapet opplevde også en merkbar vekst i raffineriene og en rekke nye raffineri ble bygget.
Bunkringsstasjoner ble utvidet til havner over hele verden, og Shell-produkter ble viden kjent. Produksjonen ble stadig utvidet og nye datterselskap etablert.
Ved utgangen av 1920-tallet var Shell-gruppen verdens ledende oljeselskap og produserte 11 prosent av verdens råolje og eide 10 prosent av verdens tankskiptonnasje.
Shell-gruppen hadde allerede tidlig lagt vekt på markedsføring og reklame. Under slagordet «You can be sure of Shell» frontet den tema som makt, renhet, pålitelighet og modernitet. Shell skulle skape en grønn, komfortabel og sikker verden med rene produkter. Mange av designerne er blitt klassikere.[REMOVE]Fotnote: http://www.shell.com/about-us/who-we-are/the-early-20th-century.html En annen del av markedsføringen var utviklingen av det globale nettverket av bensinstasjoner som bidro til å bygge konsernets omdømme. Shell var også en pioner innenfor sponsorvirksomhet ved sportsarrangement, særlig motorsport.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Olsen. (2007). Rapportering Og Revisjon Av Olje- Og Gassreserver: Med Utgangspunkt I Shell-skandalen 2004. (Mastergradsavhandling). Norges Handelshøyskole, Bergen. Hentet fra https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/167785/Olsen%20Olav%202007.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Marcus Samuel jr. fikk ikke med seg hele oppturen. I 1920 pensjonerte han seg og 16. januar 1927 døde han.
Depresjon og ny oppgang
Depresjonen som slo inn i 1929 tvang Shell-gruppen til å nedbemanne og kutte kostnader. Dette gjaldt for øvrig hele bransjen. Industrien var preget av overkapasitet og oljeprisene var ustabile.
Henri Deterding var mannen som gjennom 30 år bygget opp, først Royal Dutch og etter hvert Royal Dutch Shell, til et av verdens største og mektigste foretak. Men på midten i 1930-årene begynte det å stilles spørsmål ved hans lederegenskaper. Han ble tvunget til å gå av etter at han i 1936 planla salg av et års oljeproduksjon på kreditt til det tyske nazi-partiet.[REMOVE]Fotnote: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Deterding Han var da 70 år gammel. Han sympatiserte med fascismen og nazismen og hadde gitt økonomisk støtte til både Hitler og Mussolini. Deterding døde i februar 1939, rett før utbruddet av andre verdenskrig.
En ny krig og følgene
Som følge av andre verdenskrig og invasjonen av Nederland, måtte hovedkontorene til de nederlandske selskapene flyttes til nederlandske Vestindia, mens staben ble flyttet til London. Store eiendeler i fjerne Østen ble ødelagt, og de viktige oljefeltene i Romania var tapt. Nok en gang spilte Shell en stor rolle i de alliertes krigsinnsats. Innsatsen til raffineriene i USA var av avgjørende betydning, spesielt produksjonen av store mengder høyoktan flybensin. Shell Chemical Company fremstilte butadien, en viktig ingrediens i syntetisk gummi som ble brukt til dekk og i industrien.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Japansk okkupasjon av Malaysia stoppet tilgangen til naturlig gummi, og utviklingen og produksjon av syntetisk gummi, framstilt av petroleum. Britiske myndigheter rekvirerte alle konsernets tankskip. Shell mistet 87 av sine skip i løpet av krigen.
Etter krigen ble det gjort store bestrebelser på å gjenoppbygge ødeleggelsene av Shell sine anlegg. Behovet for økt produksjon, transport og raffinerifasiliteter var stort.
1950 og -60 årene var gylne år for oljeselskapene. Etterspørselen etter oljeprodukter økte jevnt. Stadig flere biler gjorde at etterspørselen etter drivstoff eskalerte. Shell-gruppen leverte nesten en syvendedel av verdens oljeprodukter i disse tiårene.
Etter Deternings avgang i 1936 hadde gruppen vært styrt gjennom en komite, og uten noen klar lederskikkelse. Slik skulle det forbli helt fram til 2005. Men andre endringer ble innført. I løpet av 1960-årene ble det bestemt at datterselskapene og selskapene i de enkelte land skulle gis større selvstendighet. Det ble vedtatt at det skulle rekrutteres lokale folk til alle stillinger, inklusive toppjobbene.[REMOVE]Fotnote: http://www.shell.com/about-us/who-we-are/1960s-to-the-1980s.html
Sikker transport var helt sentralt. Egypts nasjonalisering av Suez-kanalen og den påfølgende Suez-krisen førte til at den viktige transportåren var stengt i åtte år, fra 1967 til 1975. Det åpnet havet for supertankerne. For å sikre leveranser rundt hele verden, investerte Shell store summer i nye og større skip. I tillegg fikk Shell bygget spesialdesignede skip til frakt av flytende gass, LNG.
I tillegg til olje og gass var det et tredje viktig produkt som utformet Shell sin historie på denne tiden. Det var veksten i produksjon av kjemiske produkter. Shell sin kjemikalieproduksjon vokste raskt etter andre verdenskrig. I løpet av de neste 20 årene ble det utviklet flere hundre kjemikalier på over 30 ulike lokasjoner.
Shell utvidet også sin virksomhet til også å gjelde kull og metall, og gruppen ble en av verdens største produsenter av petrokjemiske produkter, ledende leverandør av plantevernmidler og helseprodukter for dyr.
I 1959 gjorde N.V. Neerlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), et felles Shell og Esso utforskningsselskap, et av verdens største funn av naturgass i Groningen i Nederland. Produksjonen begynte i 1963 og tidlig på 1970-tallet var Groningen leverandør av halvparten av naturgassen til forbruk i Europa. Shell hadde begynt å produsere gass i eget nabolag. Undersøkelser viste at det fantes tilsvarende geologiske formasjoner offshore, og selskapets leting etter hydrokarboner ble utvidet til Nordsjøen.
I 1964 inngikk Shell og Esso et 50-50 partnerskap for sammen å lete etter olje og gass på britisk kontinentalsokkel. Shell ble valgt til operatør i partnerskapet og operatørselskapet fikk navnet Shell U.K. Exploration & Production, forkortet Shell Expro.
I 1970-årene ble Nordsjøen for alvor et viktig område i oljeindustrien med store olje- og gassfunn i ekstremt utfordrende operasjonelle og finansielle miljø. Leting og produksjon i Nordsjøen ble en stor aktivitet for Shell som investerte mye i ny teknologi for bruk i et av verdens tøffeste havområder.
Ærlighet, integritet og respekt for mennesker[REMOVE]Fotnote: Shells kjerneverdier ifølge egne nettsider. http://www.shell.com/about-us/our-values.html
Det finnes også en nedside av oljeindustrien som Shell-gruppen skulle få kjenne på. Presset fra uavhengige organisasjoner økte på hele oljeindustrien. NGO (humanitære ikke-statlige organisasjoner) og menneskerettighetsbevegelsen spilte fra 1970-tallet en stadig viktigere rolle på den internasjonale scene.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Biafra-krigen i Nigeria fra 1967 til 1970 regnes som startpunktet for moderne humanitært arbeid og krigen satt i gang den første store internasjonale solidaritetsaksjonen.
Miljøorganisasjoner som Greenpeace og Friends of the Earth ble etablert i denne perioden og satte forurensning på dagsorden. [REMOVE]Fotnote: Rachel Louise Carson (1907- 1964) regnes av mange som en av de viktigste skikkelsene i den tidlige miljøbevegelsen. Den tause våren (The Silent Spring) fra 1962 fikk stor betydning for grunnleggelsen av en bred amerikansk miljøbevegelse.Samtidig endret massemediene seg. Det ble mulig med direktesendinger på fjernsyn, nyheter spredde seg raskt og interesseorganisasjoner og grupper visste å bruke mediene. Shell ble utfordret på omdømme. Gruppens salg av olje til- og annen deltakelse i land med apartheidstyre kom først i fokus, etterfulgt av flere store miljøskandaler.
I 1976 toppet Shell-gruppens oljeforsyninger til Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) nyhetsbilde. Saken begynte i allerede 1964 da den hvite minoritetsadministrasjonen krevde uavhengighet. Storbritannia hadde på dette tidspunkt startet en politikk hvor ingen kolonier i Afrika fikk sin uavhengighet uten at det ble innført afrikansk majoritetsstyre. Den hvite settleren og statsministeren Ian Smith erklærte likevel uavhengighet og innførte et apartheid-regime. Handlingen ble av britene definert som opprør. Samveldet av nasjoner innførte økonomiske sanksjoner, inklusivt en oljeembargo. I 1968 fulgte FN opp med tilsvarende sanksjoner.
Sanksjonene hadde liten effekt og i 1976, tolv år etter straffetiltakene ble iverksatt, satt de hvite nybyggerne fortsatt ved makten og landet led ikke under mangel tilførsel av olje. Det viste seg at oljen kom blant annet fra Shell-gruppen og BP som solgte den via Sør-Afrika og Mosambik. Hvorfor og hvordan dette salget ble gjennomført, er det uenighet om, men saken satt både Shells og BPs omdømme i et grelt lys.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Les mer i Sluyterman, K. (2007). A History of Royal Dutch Shell: Vol. 3 : Keeping competitive in turbulent markets, 1973-2007 (Vol. Vol. 3). Oxford: Oxford University Press. (314-318)
Og det stoppet ikke der. Shell-gruppen ble samtidig gjenstand for betydelig kritikk på grunn av sine investeringer i nabolandet Sør-Afrika. Flere organisasjoner hadde allerede tidlig i 1970-årene startet en kampanje mot det de så på som Shell-gruppens støtte til apartheid-regimet. Men det var på midten av 1980-tallet at det eksploderte i media verden over. I 1985 startet en internasjonal kampanje mot Shell. Særlig i USA økte presset for å få selskapet til å trekke seg ut av Sør-Afrika. En forbrukerboikott ble igangsatt og gjennom en mediekampanje ble forbrukere anbefalt å klippe Shellkortene sine i to og unngå å fylle drivstoff på selskapets bensinstasjoner. Tilsvarende kampanjer ble satt i gang i Europa. Kommuner ble oppfordret til ikke å ta imot anbud fra Shell. Flere norske kommuner ville ikke samarbeide med selskapet. Det fikk direkte konsekvens blant annet for driften av Draugen-feltet i Norskehavet. (se artikkel …)
Shell kom seg igjennom denne perioden uten store økonomiske tap, men selskapet var alvorlig bekymret for den overveldende negative omtalen. Shell-gruppens omdømme var igjen svekket. Det begynte å bli tydelig at den desentraliserte selskapsstrukturen førte til problemer for Shell. Hovedledelsen i Haag og London fikk ikke innsikt i bestemmelser gjort i det autonome datterselskapet i Sør-Afrika. Dermed hadde de ikke kunnskap nok om forholdene til å justere eller avlyse handelen i Sør-Afrika.
Uten kunnskap kunne heller ikke ledelsen uttale seg på vegne av selskapet og sitt eget datterselskap. Shell-gruppen hadde i utgangspunktet en holdning om ikke å søke publisitet, men heller jobbe gjennom stille diplomati.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Les mer i Sluyterman, K. (2007). A History of Royal Dutch Shell: Vol. 3 : Keeping competitive in turbulent markets, 1973-2007 (Vol. Vol. 3). Oxford: Oxford University Press: 319. Denne linjen ble det nå stilt spørsmål ved. Avdelinger og underliggende selskaper ble nå heller oppfordret til dialog med offentligheten, med pressgrupper, fagforeninger, universiteter, samt å holde staben orientert. De ansatte var også under kontinuerlig press fra familie og venner for å svare på spørsmål om selskapet.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Sluyterman, K. (2007). A History of Royal Dutch Shell : Vol. 3 : Keeping competitive in turbulent markets, 1973-2007 (Vol. Vol. 3). Oxford: Oxford University Press: 330.
Det var ikke bare involvering i land med kontroversielle styresett som skapte omdømmeproblemer for Shell-gruppen. Naturmiljø ble også satt på dagsorden i denne perioden. Amoco Cadiz forliset i 1978 skapte igjen overskrifter. Tankskipet Amoco Cadiz gikk, etter tekniske problemer, inn i fjæresteinene ved franske kysten og sølte til 200 km kystlinje med 240 000 tonn råolje. Det var til da det største oljesølet i sitt slag. Selv om Amoco eide skipet, tilhørte lasten Shell. Kritikken var særlig sterk i Frankrike, og Shell-gruppen ble offer for fiendtlig og noen ganger voldelige hendelser. [REMOVE]Fotnote: Les mer i Sluyterman, K. (2007). A History of Royal Dutch Shell: Vol. 3 : Keeping competitive in turbulent markets, 1973-2007 (Vol. Vol. 3). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Kritikken gikk på hvordan selskapet håndterte sitt sosiale ansvar.
Forståelsen og håndteringen av pressgrupper viste seg å ikke ha endret seg mye da den utrangerte lastebøyen Brent Spar skulle fjernes fra britisk sokkel i 1990. Igjen ble selskapet utsatt for massiv kritikk for måten det håndterte sitt sosiale ansvar. Shell Expro[REMOVE]Fotnote: Shell Expro var en Joint Venture med Exxon som opererte i Nordsjøen. bestemte i 1991 å fjerne lastebøyen Brent Spar fra Brent-feltet i Nordsjøen. Etter flere uavhengige analyser mente selskapet at senkning på dypt vann var den beste løsning. Både helsemessige, sikkerhetsmessige, økonomiske, tekniske og miljømessige faktorer var tatt til vurdering. Opphugging på land ville innebære høyere kostnader og større sikkerhetsrisiko. [REMOVE]Fotnote: Cummins, I., & Beasant, J. (2005). Shell shock: The secrets and spin of an oil giant. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company: 335.Britiske myndigheter sa seg enige, og i 1995 fikk selskapet tillatelse til å senke lastebøyen i Atlanterhavet.
Miljøorganisasjonen Greenpeace var ikke enig. Den var heller ikke konsultert i beslutningsprosessen, selv om åpenhet og dialog med interesseorganisasjoner var en del av selskapets nye strategi. Greenpeace bestemte seg for å gjennomføre en kampanje mot prinsippet om dumping av installasjoner i havet, med spesielt fokus på Brent Spar, og brukte massemediene bevisst. Det enkle budskapet var at industrien ikke kunne bruke havet som søppelplass, på samme måte som andre ikke kunne dumpe biler i havet. I tre uker i juni 1995, okkuperte Greenpeaceaktivister Brent Spar, under massiv mediedekning. Forbrukerne responderte med å starte en boikott av Shells bensinstasjoner.
Shell Expro overså aksjonene og i juni startet slepet av lastebøyen nordvest mot Atlanterhavet, med den følgen at Greenpeace startet en runde to av mediekampanjen. Greenpeace har i ettertid innrømmet at de overdrev mengde giftig avfall som var om bord i Brent Spar. Men det hjalp ikke Shell.
Shell snudde og 20. juni 1995 annonserte selskapet at Brent Spar ikke skulle senkes, men heller tas i land. Selskapet var likevel fortsatt overbevist om at senkning ville være det beste og tryggeste. Storbritannias statsminister John Major, som hadde gitt klarsignal til senkning, kalte Shell en gjeng «pyser» for å ha gitt etter for press.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Cummins, I., & Beasant, J. (2005). Shell shock: The secrets and spin of an oil giant. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company: 338. Brent Spar ble slept til Norge, dekonstruert og brukt som kaianlegg.
Saken demonstrerte at den folkelige opinionen hadde betydelig påvirkning og at Shell måtte lære å involvere eksterne gruppers syn i selskapets bestemmelser. Følelser og tro kunne ha like stor innflytelse på Shells mulighet til å operere, som harde fakta.
Nok en gang viste det seg at Shell snakket med flere stemmer. Mens Shell UK hadde forsvart dyphavsdumping, hadde det tyske Shell tvilt på om det var rette avgjørelsen. Den desentraliserte selskapsstrukturen og den lokale autonomien var igjen problemet. Shell som gruppe fremsto som svak og splittet. Brent Spar viste at Shell trengte større intern kommunikasjon og koordinering i viktige politiske avgjørelser.
Shell håpet å gjenoppbygge renommeet som et pålitelig, grønt selskap. De var på vei, men nye Shelloperasjoner kom i fokuset til aktivister. Denne gangen slo miljø- og menneskerettighetsgrupper seg sammen i en felles kamp mot Shells aktiviteter i Nigeria.
Det dødelige deltaet
Samme år som Brent Spar-saken, i 1995, ble Shell utsatt for massive internasjonale reaksjoner. Oljeproduksjonen i Nigerdeltaet var allerede et internasjonalt stridsspørsmål og ikke minst hadde Shells aktivitet vært debattert.
Media hadde noen år tidligere startet en granskning av Shells aktiviteter i Nigeria.
I 1990 startet en kampanje for å fokusere på den vanskelige situasjonen til Ogoni-folket og de miljømessige skadene på Ogoni-land i Nigerdeltaet. Menneskerettighetsgruppen Movement of the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), startet en aksjon mot nigerianske myndigheter og oljeselskapene i landet. MOSOP mente landet deres ble plyndret, at myndighetene og oljeselskapene tok ut milliarder av dollar i året, mens lokalbefolkningen ikke tjente noe på egne ressurser. Den ble overlatt til fattigdom og ødelagt natur. MOSOP krevde selvstendighet for Ogoni-land og kontroll over områdets ressurser. Shell samarbeidet tett med det nasjonale nigerianske oljeselskapet og støttet dermed militærregimet i landet indirekte med inntekter fra oljeproduksjonen.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Cummins, Ian og Beasant, John; Shell Shock. The secrets and spin of an oil giant, Edinburgh 2005: 343. Hvordan myndighetene brukte pengene var ikke opp til Shell å bestemme. Kritikerne mente oljeselskapet var med på å plyndre landets ressurser, mens det overlot folket i deltaet i fattigdom, arbeidsledighet, forurensning med påfølgende sykdom.
Det oppsto voldsomme demonstrasjoner. En langvarig konflikt mellom Ogoni-folket og militærregimet endte med at ni ledere av MOSOP ble henrettet. Hendelsen fikk stor internasjonal oppmerksomhet, ikke minst fordi en av de drepte var den verdenskjente forfatteren og aktivisten, Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Etter henrettelsene var Shell under angrep fra alle sider; media, uavhengige organisasjoner, pressgrupper og investorer. Mange kritikere kunne ikke akseptere Shells holdning at de ikke kunne blande seg i måten myndighetene styrte landet på eller hvordan rettsvesenet fungerte. Shell burde brukt sin innflytelse i området til å forhindre henrettelsene. Kritikerne mente profitt gikk foran menneskerettigheter.
Ogoni-spørsmålet førte ikke til samme umiddelbare nedgang i inntekter som Brent Spar-saken hadde gjort, men den hadde i høyeste grad dårlig innvirkning på Shells omdømme.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Cummins, I., & Beasant, J. (2005). Shell shock: The secrets and spin of an oil giant. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company: 355.
Fra midten av 1990-tallet var hovedspørsmålet for Shell hvordan selskapet, i samråd med egne forretningsprinsipper, skulle operere under militærregimer som brukte makt mot eget folk og fordelte oljerikdommen ulikt. Gjennom prosessen startet en endring mot større ansvar for menneskerettigheter og bærekraftig utvikling.
På grunn av volden som oppsto og trusler mot selskapet, trakk Shell seg ut av Niger-deltaet i 1993. Men rørledningene krysset fortsatt landet og oljesøl forekom regelmessig, delvis på grunn av gamle og ødelagte anlegg og delvis som følge av sabotasje og tyveri. Oljesølet bidro til forurensning av drikkevann, jordbruksland og fiskerifelt.
I 2009 var det Amnesty International som startet en storstilt kampanje for å få fram i lyset de massive oljeutslippene i Nigerdeltaet gjennom over 50 år. Shells oljeutslipp og miljøødeleggelser hadde fratatt hundretusener av mennesker muligheten til å dyrke mat, rent vann, helse og en akseptabel levestandard. Dette mente Amnesty var et brudd på menneskerettighetene.
De mente ytringsfriheten ble kneblet og lokalbefolkning som hadde protestert mot oljeindustrien opplevde å bli utsatt for overgrep.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Amnesty International. https://www.amnesty.no/aksjon/flere-aksjoner/nigeria-shell-rydd-opp
I 2011 kom en FN-rapport som konkluderte med at Shell hadde forsømt oljesølet i Nigerdeltaet i mange år og at oljeforurensningen i Ogoni-land hadde grusomme konsekvenser for miljøet og livet til menneskene som bodde der.
Selv om Shell på midten av 1990-tallet hadde erkjent at deler av forurensingen i Nigerdeltaet skyldtes bedriftens egne forsømmelser, gikk selskapet hardt ut og anklaget lokalsamfunn, kriminelle og sabotører for det meste av forurensingen. I henhold til nigeriansk lov, hadde ikke Shell noe erstatningsansvar for skader som oppsto når utslippene skyldes sabotasje. Selv om sabotasje og tyveri hadde vært en del av problemet i Nigerdeltaet, ble det dokumentert at gamle rør og utslitt utstyr var årsak til at mye av oljen rant ut.
I 2010 inngikk Royal Dutch Shell en avtale om å betale 600 millioner kroner til menneskene som hadde fått sitt livsgrunnlag ødelagt som følge av oljesøl i Nigerdeltaet. Bakgrunnen var to store oljeutslipp i 2008, som skyldtes feil på en oljeledning. Shell innrømmet at disse to oljeutslippene skyldes dårlig vedlikehold av oljeledninger, og inngikk et forlik. Shell beklaget lekkasjene de var ansvarlige for, men påpekte samtidig at de fleste lekkasjene i området skyldes omfattende tyveri av olje og ulovlig raffinering.
“Klarhet, enkelhet, effektivitet og ansvarlighet”
Til tross for en rekke hendelser, der Shell ikke var eneste oljeselskap som ble trukket fram i både menneskerettslige og miljømessige saker, hadde Shell i løpet av nesten hundre år skapt et solid selskap og en verdenskjent merkevare.
I januar 2004 ble det kjent at Shell-gruppen i flere år hadde overdrevet sine oljereserver. Oljeselskapet nedjustere sine samlede reserver fra 20 milliarder til 16 milliarder fat, samtidig som de måtte erkjenne at de for tredje år på rad hadde pumpet opp mer olje enn de hadde funnet i nye reserver. [REMOVE]Fotnote: Dagens Næringsliv (2004, 9. januar). Shells oljereserver minker. http://www.dn.no/nyheter/2004/01/09/shells-oljereserver-minkerI mars måtte selskapet foreta en ytterligere nedskrivning og i april enda en. Det ble kjent at ledelsen i Shell allerede i 2002 var advart om at deres reserver var stipulert for høyt gjennom interne dokumenter. I Amerika ble dette sett på som så alvorlig informasjonssvikt at justisdepartementet ønsket å etterforske saken som en kriminalsak.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Aftenposten (2011, 19. oktober). Vil verden ha olje nok i framtiden? Toppsjefen Sir Philip Watts og sjefen for oljeleting og produksjon Walter van de Vijver, måtte i mars 2004 gå med umiddelbar virkning.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Olsen. (2007). Rapportering Og Revisjon Av Olje- Og Gassreserver: Med Utgangspunkt I Shell-skandalen 2004. (Mastergradsavhandling). Norges Handelshøyskole, Bergen. Hentet fra https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/167785/Olsen%20Olav%202007.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Shell-gruppen var et enormt foretak. Moderselskapene Royal Dutch og «Shell» Transport var fram til 2005 børsnoterte selskap som eides henholdsvis 60 og 40 prosent av Royal Dutch/ Shell. De eide en rekke holdingselskaper, serviceselskaper og flere hundre operative selskap som var engasjert i ulike bransjer innen olje, naturgass, kjemikalier, kull, metall og andre forretninger i mange land. Som vi har sett var gruppen en av de mest desentraliserte virksomheter innen oljeindustrien i verden, hvor ledelsen i hvert enkelt selskap var fullt ut ansvarlig i egne operasjoner.
Shells byråkratiske struktur var moden for overhaling. Den gamle oppbygningen gjorde beslutningene trege, regnskapene forvirrende og ugjennomsiktige. Investorene ga selskapsstrukturen skylden for at skandalen med oljereservene ikke ble identifisert og stoppet.
Det var kunnskapen om at selskapet hadde overdrevet sine oljereserver som utløste gjennomgangen av selskapsstrukturen og styringen. I november 2004 ble det annonsert at Shell-gruppen ville skape et nytt morselskap med hovedkontor Haag og forretningskontor i London. Fusjonen ble avsluttet 20. juli 2005. Aksjene i selskapet ble utstedt ved en 60/40 fordel for aksjonærene i Royal Dutch i tråd med den opprinnelige eier av Shell-gruppen.[REMOVE]Fotnote: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2fbca8ce-2948-11d9-836c-00000e2511c8.html?ft_site=falcon&desktop=true#axzz4VYorwEWv Denne fordelingen hadde holdt seg i nesten 100 år, helt siden 1907 da Deterding bestemte fordelingen av eierandeler mellom Royal Dutch og «Shell» Transport.
Jeroen van der Veer ble utnevnt som første konsernsjef i det sammenslåtte selskapet. Han mente at den nye strukturen ville gi større ansvarlighet og garantier mot revisjonsproblemer. I tillegg ville den være «mer utførelsesorientert, mer konkurransedyktig og mindre kompleks». Royal Dutch Shell plc, som ble navnet på det nye selskapet, fikk ett styre, én styreformann og én konsernsjef. «Vi er fast bestemt på å gjøre Shell til et annet selskap, mer resultatorientert, mer konkurransedyktig og mindre kompleks», sa van der Veer. Shell skulle nå konsentrere seg om «klarhet, enkelhet, effektivitet og ansvarlighet».
Selskapet har hatt sine opp- og nedturer, vært utsatt for skandaler og boikotter, men er fortsatt ett av verdens største foretak med 93 000 ansatte i over 70 land. Og logoen, det stilrene gule og røde skjellet er en av verdens mest kjente, så innarbeidet verden over at selskapet i 1999 bestemte at firmanavnet ikke lengre var nødvendig i logoen.
Published April 24, 2018 • Updated October 17, 2018
That rural community earned the nickname of “Draugen Village” after personnel on the field began collecting funds in 2001 to build homes there and secure education for the local children. The village is located deep in the Indian countryside, and its residents lived in primitive mud huts. During the rainy season, water penetrated through leaky walls and roofs.
Their walls simply dissolved after weeks of downpour, so the villagers had to spend time on repairs which reduced their opportunities for taking paid work.
Shell employees on Draugen wanted to build brick houses for families in Bhorkas, and ended up changing the lives of 300 villagers and boosting long-distance adoption of Indian children.
Lima 2000 was the first aid project launched by Draugen personnel and focused on Villa Maria. This house on the outskirts of the Peruvian capital provided daily training for handicapped children. It was in a very poor condition, and the platform workers contributed funds towards its restoration, together with the Norwegian and Peruvian Red Cross. The neighbourhood eventually turned out to be in decline, with growing crime, increasing refuse problems and terrible sanitation conditions. It ultimate proved impossible to continue the work. The children were moved to a local hospital for treatment and follow-up, and Villa Maria was closed down.
But the steering committee for Lima 2000 wanted to redirect employee enthusiasm to a new aid project run by Norske Shell staff in Kristiansund. The Indian scheme got the biggest support. This quite simply involved collecting money from Draugen workers to build brick houses for people in a small village. Colleagues were fired by the idea, and fund-raising began.
To contribute, many of the Draugen workforce had a fixed deduction taken from their regular pay and earmarked for the village project.
Lotteries, auctions and bingo evenings were also held on the platform. Prizes were largely items the personnel themselves had made. In addition to helping somebody in need, Draugen Village was a collective project which created a positive sense of community offshore. Some of the employees also devoted their safety bonus to drilling for water in Bhorkas. A total of NOK 1 038 000 was raised by these various means.
The money was spent on materials, while the villagers themselves helped with the building. Old wood and straw huts were replaced by brick houses each measuring about 36 square metres. They contained a combined living room and bedroom where the whole family slept, a kitchen with smokeless cooker and a laundry room.
All the 72 homes built had watertight roofs and solid walls. Their foundations were also so high that rainwater, snakes and other pests were kept out.
The Draugen Village project gave the village women a new status, since they were the formal owners of the homes and got their name on the signs outside them. Neither their husband nor their in-laws could now throw them out if they wanted a divorce or their spouse died, and the property could not be sold without their consent.
This was unusual in India, particularly in rural areas, where illiteracy and superstition created and still create obstacles to the development of girls.
It was important for the Draugen workers to follow up that the money they were raising reached the intended recipients. So funds were only sent to build 10-15 houses at a time. The next payment was only dispatched after they had received photographs and other documentation that these homes had been completed. That created even greater closeness to the project.
As well as financing the building programme, Draugen personnel were also eager fosterers for village children in cooperation with the Foundation for Adopted Childrens Future (FAF). Founded in 1991, this Norwegian humanitarian organisation changed its name in 2013 to India’s Children. It works to improve conditions for poor youngsters in the sub-continent through education and health provision.
FAF collaborated in turn with its Indian counterpart, Children’s Future India (CFI). This was a secular, non-political, idealistic voluntary organisation working to promote the welfare of underprivileged children, their families and their local communities in India’s slums and countryside.
The Draugen Village project also cooperated with other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Community Aid and Sponsorship Programme (Casp). A Casp representative visited Bhorkas each week to report on progress for the adopted children and to inspect the building work.
The project was fully in line with parent company Royal Dutch Shell’s philosophy of sustainable development and community. Project Better World (PBW), a voluntary organisation run by Shell employees and contractors, was set up at the time.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Brochure, PBW National Teams, What is wrong with these pictures?
It was conceived in Amsterdam in April 1998, when a discussion on sustainable development led to the implementation of Shell’s core purpose of helping people to build a better world. This aimed to give the group’s commitment in the area a tangible form which was visible to all its employees and to the world at large. The idea was to make it possible for employees to offer their skills to a voluntary body. Royal Dutch Shell quickly saw the benefits this could also have for employees, the group and society as a whole.
By building awareness and understanding of sustainable development, PBW could help to create a cultural shift in the organisation. Voluntary work in financial, environmental and social areas would increase knowledge about sustainability, which could feed back to Shell’s own operations. A number of PBW teams with enthusiastic employees were established worldwide.
The group was also directly involved in the Draugen Village project. That included funds donated by Norske Shell for a community centre in Bhorkas. This was used for gatherings and for the production of incense sticks, and the adopted children in the village were also served a hot meal there every day.
In addition, the centre provided the village with a schoolroom. Although most of the adults there were illiterate, their offspring could now learn to read and write locally. Previously, the youngest children were taught by a peripatetic teacher while teenagers had to walk eight kilometres to the nearest town, Pen, to attend school.
The road was bad and turned to mud during the four-month monsoon season – making it impossible to leave the village. With the centre and money for a local teacher, the children could learn year-round.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Position paper, Draugen Village – oppsummmering.
When the project ended in 2006, the Draugen workforce had financed 72 homes, a community centre and a teacher’s pay. Other achievements included drilling a well with associated pump. Lights powered by solar cells were installed in the streets and houses, and a rainwater collector was constructed from plastic cement bags.
The last of these measures extended the fruit and vegetable season by two months, while the village also began to cultivate mangos and other crops. Another important aspect was that the women secured employment by producing incense sticks, and thereby generated their own incomes.
As mentioned above, the original project ended in 2006. But money remained in the kitty, so Thakur Rights and Development was established in 2010 as a three-year continuation programme. This was a collective effort to aid the aboriginal population of Ratatachiwadi and Tadachiwadi as well as Bhorkas. Work focused on building capacity for the local community in Raigad.
Funded entirely by Draugen workers, the project aimed to support resident rights and improve living conditions for people in the three villages. Efforts concentrated on education, health, living conditions and the environment, and was again pursued in collaboration with CFI.
Raising awareness among the locals of their rights and the Indian government’s responsibilities played a key role, and a number of meetings were held on practical and monetary economics.
Special attention was paid to formal procedures, agriculture and women’s right, with guidance and information on land rights, insurance, caste certificates, ration shops and so forth. The project also supported a number of initiative to promote education, such as sharing schoolbooks and writing materials, and information meetings for parents on the value of learning. A number of children and adults in the villages received support for vocational training as carpenters, bricklayers and the like.
Chickens were also handed out to a number of families to help improve their incomes and raise living standards in the local community. In addition, villagers received follow-up on health and nutrition, and participated in activities which promote environmental awareness – such as tree planting.
The project ended in 2013, and no further aid schemes had been launched on the Draugen platform up to 2018.
Published April 24, 2018 • Updated October 16, 2018
Kristin Øye Gjerde, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
The plan for development and operation (PDO) of Draugen submitted to the Storting (parliament) in 1988 gave the field a producing life until 2012 and a recovery factor of 37 per cent. When it came on stream in 1993, however, operator Shell was already working to both extend and increase output.
— Draugen field layout. Illustration: A/S Norske Shell/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
By 2017, Draugen’s producing life had been extended to 9 March 2024 and its expected recovery factor was put at 75 per cent. These forecasts have changed gradually, as technological advances in the oil industry permitted production improvements.
But the reservoir has nevertheless yielded surprises along the way.
Reserves up, producing life and recovery factor extended
Shell could report in 2001 that recoverable reserves in Draugen were larger than earlier thought.
Use of four-dimensional seismic surveys improved geological understanding of the reservoir, which was also behaving better than expected. A number of the wells were producing very well.
Draugen’s producing life was extended to 2016 and the expected recovery factor increased to 67 per cent. In the longer term, the goal was to recover at least 70 per cent – assuming that the field remained commercial beyond 2016.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Adresseavisen, 5 February 2001, “Draugen leverer olje helt til 2016”.
New subsea wells in south and west
To increase production from and producing life for the Draugen area even further, Shell now planned development of the Garn West and Rogn South subsea wells.
These would be tied back to the Draugen platform and increase reserves by about 81 million barrels or 13 million standard cubic metres (scm) of oil. That was nine per cent of the field’s 144.2 million scm in recoverable oil.[REMOVE]Fotnote:http://factpages.npd.no/factpages, 26 October 2017.
This decision built on rapid improvements during the 1990s in the methods for tying subsea wells back to fixed and floating offshore installations.
Discoveries too small to justify their own process platform could use relatively cheap, standardised subsea systems tied back to a fixed platform, a floater or even land. And unprocessed wellstreams could be sent over ever longer distances with advanced multiphase flow technology.
Development of small satellite fields had become a profitable business, which proved a boon for oil companies around 2000 when oil prices slumped towards USD 10 per barrel. An advantage of subsea wells was that they were quick to install and start up.
Located at the westernmost edge of the Draugen area, Garn West was the first to be tapped with the aid of two seabed wells tied back by a 3.3-kilometre pipeline in the summer of 2001.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Adresseavisen, 5 February 2001, “Draugen leverer olje helt til 2016”.
The Rogn South development was approved in the spring of that year, and Transocean Winner drilled and installed two subsea wells in 2002 so that they could come on stream the following January. Their wellstreams are routed via Garn West (see map).
These satellites helped to increase and extend oil production from Draugen – which was advantageous as oil prices staged yet another recovery after 2002.
Norske Shell could report in 2001 that it was investing NOK 1.5 billion in developing Garn West and Rogn South.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Adresseavisen, 30 May 2001, “Draugen større”. Among those winning contracts were Kværner Oilfield Products AS at Lysaker outside Oslo, which delivered the subsea systems.[REMOVE]Fotnote: NTB, 6 June 2000, “Draugen utvides for 130 millioner kroner”.
The Kristiansund business community also did well, with Aker Møre Montasje and Vestbase – the biggest local suppliers – securing work in the order of NOK 70-90 million.
Coflexip Stena Offshore won the pipelaying job, while the new water treatment system on Draugen was produced by Aker Offshore Partner at Stord.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Adresseavisen, 30 May 2001, “Draugen større”.
Water, water and more water
Production from Draugen was highly promising in 2001. It was at its highest-ever level of 12.87 million scm of oil equivalent (oe) per year – almost too good to be true.
This annual output of oil, gas and condensate equalled as much as the total expected recovery from Garn West and Rogn South combined.
The field nevertheless showed some signs of production weaknesses. As the oil was produced, the level of water in the reservoir rose and its proportion of output (or cut) increased. In June 2002, Shell reported that the water cut had risen to 35 000 cubic metres per month – a trebling from six months earlier.
Well A1, which only contained 10 per cent water in its oil output at 30 March 2002, increased this cut to 30 per cent over a three-month period.
With a record output of 77 000 barrels of oil per day (bod) making it the best of Draugen’s wells, A4 had to be shut down because of the salts being precipitated. These threatened to block the pores in its walls – a sign that the area being produced was approaching depletion. Production from the field was nevertheless not particularly reduced, since the other wells were increasing their output.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Adresseavisen, 11 June 2002, “…mens vannet stiger i Draugen”.
All the same, it transpired over the years which followed that the amount of oil and gas produced went down as the water cut rose.
By 2010, production had fallen 20 per cent or 2.6 million scm oe from the peak year of 2001 and water output was approaching eight million scm.
Something had to be done if Draugen was to stay on stream. As part of Shell’s environmental improvement programme, a project for produced water and reinjection on the field had been launched. The reinjected fluid would be used for pressure support.
Advanced new seismic surveys identified a number of oil pockets in the area. That led in 2012 to a plan for drilling a further four new wells.
These would help to produce fuel gas for power generation on the platform, operations head Ervik explained.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Tidens Krav, 3 February 2012, “Langt liv for Draugen”. The electricity was intended partly to drive a new pressure support pump.
Shell contracted with Seadrill to use West Navigator for the subsea wells in this Draugen infill drilling programme to help boost oil production from the field.
Kristin Øye Gjerde, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Draugen was the first field to begin production on the Halten Bank in the Norwegian Sea. Its oil could be loaded into shuttle tankers and shipped to refineries, but finding a commercial solution for the gas was less simple.
When the field came on stream in 1993, it was estimated to contain a lot of oil (575 million barrels or 92 million cubic metres)
and small quantities of natural gas (three billion cubic metres)
No export infrastructure for gas was immediately available. Shell’s proposal to flare the gas in situ was rejected by the government on resource management and environmental grounds.
Injecting the gas into Husmus, a satellite reservoir, offered a temporary solution. This was permitted for six years while a permanent export system was put in place.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Norsk Oljerevy, no 11, 1993, “Draugen-prosjektet vekket Midt-Norge”.
Haltenpipe right past
Problems with gas were not confined to Shell and Draugen. After exploration drilling was permitted above the 62nd parallel (the northern limit of the North Sea) in 1980, a number of discoveries were made on the Halten Bank.
Saga Petroleum found gas in the Midgard field in 1981 with its third well in the area, while Statoil and Shell discovered Smørbukk and Draugen respectively in 1984.
Statoil then proved Smørbukk South in 1985, when Conoco also found Heidrun. And Norsk Hydro discovered the Njord field the following year.
Success on the Halten Bank accordingly came quickly. All three Norwegian oil companies and international operators Shell and Conoco became involved in development assignments there.
Several of these fields contained natural gas in addition to oil, and opportunities for shared pipelines to bring this ashore were discussed on several occasions.
Heidrun’s gas reserves were larger than those in Draugen, and flaring these was again excluded by Norwegian emission standards. Nor was injection relevant.
Since no gas transport network existed this far north, Statoil and operator Conoco resolved to lay the Haltenpipe gas line to Tjeldbergodden and to build a methanol plant there.
As the state oil company, Statoil was particularly concerned to meet the political goal that Norway’s petroleum production should create spin-offs and jobs on land.
Haltenpipe would pass within a few kilometres of Draugen, so a gas tie-in from that field seemed sensible. Statoil/Conoco therefore proposed that the Draugen partners should become co-owners of both pipeline and methanol plant.
Negotiations were pursued in 1992 between Shell/BP for Draugen and the methanol group on delivering gas to Tjeldbergodden. But the former felt the methanol project was too expensive. Nor were they interested in producing this chemical.
They offered their gas free of charge, but Statoil/Conoco declined.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Lerøen, Bjørn Vidar (2012): Energi til å bygge et land. Norske Shell gjennom 100 år, 177–78. The negotiations accordingly foundered, and Haltenpipe passed Draugen without a tie-in.
Draugen Gas Export
As noted above, permission to inject Draugen gas in Husmus was limited in duration. Offshore could announce in March 1998 that Norske Shell had finally found a buyer for the gas.
Development of fields and transport solutions from the Norwegian Sea had now made several strides. In connection with its Åsgard development, Statoil was planning a new gas pipeline to Kårstø north of Stavanger.
This would pass within 78 kilometres of Draugen and laying a spur from that field to a T-joint on the Åsgard line would allow its gas to be sent to Kårstø.
There it could be processed and transported on to consumers in continental Europe.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Offshore, 1 March 1998, “Offshore Europe”.
This solution was fully in line with what Shell wanted.
A plan for installation and operation (PIO) of a pipeline to link Draugen with the Åsgard Transport system was submitted to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in May 1999.
In the consultation process on this Draugen Gas Export facility, politicians in Møre og Romsdal county council expressed some dissatisfaction.
They wanted clarification of the regional spin-offs from this project, and called for measures to secure more work for mid-Norwegian players in all new Norwegian Sea developments.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Møre og Romsdal county executive board, 16 September 1999, item U-162/99 A: Konsekvensutgreiing for Draugen Gasseksport.
That demand fell on stony ground. The priority was to ensure that Norwegian Sea gas reached the market, and calls for local jobs took second place. The PIO was approved in April 2000.
Draugen Gas Export became operational in November 2000.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, 1 October 2007: Helhetlig forvaltningsplan for Norskehavet. Statusbeskrivelse for petroleumsvirksomhet i Norskehavet. Its diameter of 16 inches offered opportunities to tie in several other discoveries in the area.
Once the pipeline was in place, therefore, surplus gas was no longer a challenge for Draugen and new satellite fields were developed.
The Garn West discovery came on stream in December 2001, while Rogn South was approved in the spring of 2001 and began production in January 2003.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, 1 October 2007: Helhetlig forvaltningsplan for Norskehavet. Statusbeskrivelse for petroleumsvirksomhet i Norskehavet.
Draugen Gas Export
Total investment: NOK 1.15 bn (2007 value)
Technical operating life: 50 years
Capacity: about two bn standard cubic metres (scm) per annum
Operations organisation: Kristiansund
Length: 707 kilometres
Diameter: 42 inches
Available technical capacity (ATV): 70 million scm/day
Technical service provider: Statoil
Åsgard Transport and connected fields
Statoil was accustomed to taking a leading role in the development of the pipeline network on Norway’s continental shelf (NCS), and did so again when the Norwegian Sea-North Sea link was realised. Growing demand for gas in continental Europe made it possible.
The Midgard discovery operated by Saga and the Statoil-operated Smørbukk/Smørbukk South finds were unitised in 1995 to create a new licensee structure with Statoil in the driving seat.
Renamed Åsgard, this area became the subject of the biggest single development on NCS, which made extensive use of increasingly tested and reliable subsea technology.
An oil production ship, Åsgard A, and the floating Åsgard B gas/condensate platform were tied to 63 subsea-completed production and injection wells split between 19 seabed templates.
The gas/condensate satellites Mikkel and Yttergryta were also tied back to Åsgard B through seabed templates and associated flowlines.
With water depths of 240-310 metres across the area, plans called for oil from Åsgard A to be shipped ashore by shuttle tankers.
The big reserves discovered in the Norwegian Sea created the basis for tying this area to Norway’s existing gas transport system in the North Sea.
Operational in 2000, the 42-inch Åsgard Transport pipeline is 707 kilometres long from a starting point on the seabed beneath Åsgard B to the Kårstø processing plant.
Gassco is the operator of this system today, with Statoil as the technical service provider. Åsgard Transport can carry 25 billion cubic metres of gas per annum.
All the fields in the Norwegian Sea except Ormen Lange and Heidrun (part) export their gas through the pipeline. In addition to Åsgard, that includes Statoil-operated Njord, Heidrun (part), Kristin and Norne, BP-operated Skarv, and Draugen.
The Njord oil field lies due west of Draugen and came on stream in 1997. Associated gas was initially injected in parts of the reservoir to maintain its pressure.
Gas exports began from Njord in 2007, reducing the quantity available for injection. The gas travels through the 40-kilometre Njord export pipeline, which is tied into Åsgard Transport.
Heidrun, on stream since 1993, still sends the bulk of its associated gas to Tjeldbergodden. Opening Åsgard Transport also made it possible to transport part of the gas to Kårstø, but little use is made of this opportunity.
Like Njord, the Norne oil field came on stream in 1997 and its associated gas was injected as pressure support until 2005. Part of the gas was exported via Åsgard Transport from 2001, and all this output from 2005 when gas injection ceased.
The Alve gas/condensate and Urd oil fields pipe their production to Norne for processing and onward transport.
Kristin is a gas/condensate field just to the south-west of Åsgard, which came on stream with a tie-in to Åsgard Transport in 2005.
Tyrihans was tied back to Kristin as a subsea development in 2009. Some gas from Åsgard is injected into this field to improve oil recovery.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Kristoffer Evensen, Kjetil Nøkling, Martin Richardsen, Kamil Martin Sagberg and Marius Haara Tjemsland (2011): Gasstransportkapasitet fra Haltenbanken til Europa. Project assignment in subject area TPG4140 natural gas, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Published April 27, 2018 • Updated October 2, 2018
Kristin Øye Gjerde, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
When Shell planned the Draugen development, the project included the installation of various subsea facilities and other work in 250 metres of water.
— Signing the Draugen underwater installation services (DUIS) contract on 30 April 1992. Seated from left: Per Olaf Hustad from Shell and Stolt Nielsen Seaway’s Kåre Johannes Lie. Standing from left: Jim Seavar, David Cooke and an unidentified person (all Shell), and Arnfinn Vika, Joar Gangenes and Magne Vågslid (all Stolt Nielsen Seaway). Photo: A/S Norske Shell/Norwegian Petroluem Museum
This included positioning a subsea pump and manifold as well as modules from Kongsberg Offshore, opening and shutting valves in deep water, connections and maintenance jobs of various kinds.
The Draugen underwater installation services (DUIS) contract was won in 1992 by Stolt-Nielsen Seaway, a specialist with diving and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
Based in Haugesund north of Stavanger, this company had to make a rather unusual acquisition in order to satisfy Shell’s technical specifications for the work.
Plans called for ROVs to be used to carry out subsea work for the platform, since saturation diving by humans was not feasible at these water depths.
Several types of such vehicles were relevant, including crewed systems which kept the person doing the seabed job under atmospheric pressure no matter how far down they were.
The other principal solution was an ROV operated from a control room on a rig or ship without any people needing to go underwater.
Stolt-Nielsen Seaway had an ROV on its diving support vessel (DSV), but Shell wanted a back-up in case this vehicle ran into problems.
Diving could be an option, and successful test dives had already been conducted down to 250 metres and beyond. But demonstrating (qualifying) that descents to these depths could be conducted safely was both expensive and very demanding.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Joar Gangenes by email to Kristin Øye Gjerde, 13 October 2017.
Instead, Shell specified that the company must have an atmospheric diving suit (ADS) available as a back-up in order to secure the contract.
An ADS was an armoured diving suit suspended from a cable and provided with lifting equipment on the DSV. The operative/diver stood inside it like an astronaut, with a transparent dome for vision. Although able to walk on the seabed, he lacked the mobility of a diver.
Having won the job, Stolt-Nielsen Seaway had to invest in this system. It was purchased from a Canada-based company via Draeger and proved extremely expensive.[REMOVE]Fotnote:Joar Gangenes by email to Kristin Øye Gjerde, 13 October 2017.
A test programme established that getting a person inside this suit to do effective work was almost impossible. It was accordingly never used.
Fortunately for Stolt-Nielsen Seaway, Shell proved willing to bear the whole cost of both investment and testing. It regard this as research and development work.
Kåre Johannes Lie, who followed up this acquisition from the contractor’s side, found the whole business unfortunate and felt spending money on an unnecessary system was a bit of a waste.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Kåre Johannes Lie in an interview with Kristin Øye Gjerde and Arnfinn Nergaard, 9 August 2017.
Subsea installation work was performed with the aid of the module handling system on the DSV, which had been developed earlier by Stolt-Nielsen Seaway in collaboration with Elf.
During the 1990s, the contractor also used the newly developed and powerful Perry Tritec Triton ROV from Oceana Subsea Ltd Perry Inc in Florida.
The most popular ROV on the Norwegian continental shelf in the 1990s, this unit could descend to 1 000 metres and perform subsea observation, sonar searches, seabed surveys and mechanical jobs.
With a deployment cable (umbilical) which incorporated the necessary communication lines, the Triton was able to remove and replace components on the seabed.
It featured two powerful manipulator arms developed by Shilling in the USA and remotely operated via a fibreoptic cable in the umbilical.
The package also included a cable drum, winch, power transmission unit and control room. Its control system ran an electric pump which drove the propellers and other gear.
Hydraulically powered thrusters provided propulsion in the sea. In addition came dedicated systems for lifting the ROV and its basket from the deck and into the sea.
Kristin Øye Gjerde, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
When the Draugen platform arrived on the field in 1993, it had to be connected to production tubing, umbilicals (control cables) from satellites, export pipelines and so forth. This job went to Subsea Dolphin.
— The Draugen platform being towed to the field offshore. Photo: A/S Norske Shell/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
All the hatches at the bottom of the Condeep concrete gravity base (GBS) structure were to be opened with the aid of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
The lower part of the GBS had been cast at Hinnavågen in Stavanger, while slipforming of the tall monotower shaft took place in the deep fjord at Vats further north.
Subsea Dolphin was involved as early as the latter stage. Arild Jenssen, one of the company’s ROV pilots, remembers this phase well.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Arild Jenssen in conversation with Kristin Øye Gjerde, 31 March 2016.
These devices were used inside the GBS because the shaft was filled with seawater once the platform had been installed on the field, and they could therefore move around as required.
Preparing for internal ROV work while readying the platform for tow-out proved a special experience because of the motion in the shaft, which was several hundred metres tall.
That meant the tubing which ran from the base of the structure through holes in the intermediate decks banged against the sides of these apertures. This in turn generated vibrations and a “bong, bong” sound almost like church bells.
The ROV pilots wanted to insert wooden wedges in the holes to prevent the slamming, but the engineers from builder Norwegian Contractors maintained that this motion was as it should be.
“We Subsea Dolphin operators were on board during the towout [in 1993],” recalls Jenssen. “It was a fantastic experience. The view was great while deballasting the platform in calm and beautiful weather.”
Like the other Condeep concrete platforms, the Draugen GBS had cylindrical storage tanks clustered around the central shaft. The latter contained about 70 metres of water during towout, while a big tank also held ballast water.
A concrete pipe with a square cross-section ran down the centre of the shaft to a “mini-cell” at the base of the platform. This extended upwards from a depth of 250 metres to 180 metres.
The mini-cell contained piping positioned beneath the other storage cells for pumping out grout in order to fill the spaces beneath the GBS and stabilise the ground.
Installed in 250 metres of water, the platform ended up 0.3 degrees out of true – which added up to a horizontal offset of 1.5 metres at the topside height of 300 metres.
Although this was a very small deviation, it was enough to create a few problems for guiding the ROVs through the narrow aperture in the various intermediate decks.
Another issue was that the platform started to sway once it was finally in place. It had been known that skyscrapers could oscillate many metres in strong winds, and the Draugen structure was expected to behave similarly in response to wind and waves.
But this platform was the first design of its kind, with only a single shaft, and the swaying created a good deal of concern among control room staff.
“A plumb line hung from the ceiling there, and moved in big figures of eight,” Jenssen relates. Since it made people nervous and had no practical significance, the plumb was eventually removed and the workforce became used to the motion.
The ROV pilots had to familiarise themselves with the GBS design before the shaft was water-filled, so that they would be able to guide their vehicles down at the bottom.
To reach the base of the structure, they first had to take a lift through the narrowest section of the shaft to the deck where the mini-cell started.
They then transferred to a lift inside the mini-cell itself to the bottom of the shaft, where they could see the pipes which extended beyond the concrete wall. “To seawater”, the sign read.
Hatches in the shaft were to be opened with the aid of ROVs once the space was water-filled in order to pull in the conductor tubing.
These in turn were where flowlines with oil and gas, umbilicals and control lines would enter the platform before passing up the shaft to the topsides.
Work could start as soon as the mini-cell was filled with water. Two ROVs were used in the shaft – a Sprint observation model with cameras and a big Scorpio with manipulator arms.
But the problems posed by the 0.3-degree slant now manifested themselves, since the Scorpio could no longer be easily lowered as intended through the square holes in the various shaft decks.
The machine suffered considerably from the buffeting it got on the way up and down because it was difficult to hit the openings exactly.
In the lowest spaces, which were water-filled, the pilot had to use the propellers to manoeuvre the ROV into position to pass through the holes.
If things went really badly, the umbilical could be damaged and the machine would shut down. The only option then was to haul on the cable to get the ROV out.
A big framework containing cylinders and cabling meant the lifting point on the Scorpio could be moved to the best possible position before and after dives.
The pilot sat safe and dry high up in a container on a topside deck and controlled the ROVs as they removed the temporary hatches used to seal the platform during construction and towout.
But the work was demanding. The machines had to be manoeuvred through a jungle of pipes, bracings, cables and decks in very poor visibility.
The pilots usually “flew” with the aid of sonar images as they hunted for the hatches to be removed. In many cases, the space available was only just enough for the ROV to work.
Flexible risers connected the platform to the subsea installations, and entered the GBS through J tubes which opened at the seabed. Pulling the risers into these tubes was accomplished using a wire lowered down the shaft with the aid of the ROVs.
Once everything had been hooked up, the contract for subsea work during the production phase was awarded to Stolt Comex Seaway and its machines replaced the Subsea Dolphin ROVs.
They conducted annual inspection and maintenance work. And several years of repair work were required inside the shaft after cracks had been found in the GBS base around the conductors.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Arild Jenssen in conversation with Kristin Øye Gjerde, 16 April 2016.