“The oil industry is further enhancing its coastal oil spill response in the north”, says Sjur W. Knudsen, Managing Director at NOFO, the Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies, which is responsible for oil spill response on behalf of the oil industry.
“This applies equally to innovations linked to the organisation and structure of response, the development of equipment, and investment”, he says.
New task forces
NOFO’s special task force (IGSA), whose aim it is to combat oil spil along shorelines, has now been established. A total of 40 persons are currently undergoing specialist training. The IGSA represents one among a series of oil industry initiatives designed to consolidate the Norwegian coastal oil spill contingency organisation. The IGSA concept was developed jointly by NOFO, Eni Norge and Statoil.
“In the case of the Goliat field, Eni Norge’s aim is to establish a contingency organisation which is robust, effective and well-adapted to local circumstances”, says Ole Hansen, Oil Spill Protection Adviser at Eni Norge.
“This task force is one of the new components designed to meet this aim and raise the levels of the oil spill contingency organisation in Finnmark”, he says.
“The IGSA provides us with a national task force, recruited from northern Norway, which can be mobilised rapidly to clear oil from the beaches in the event of an accident”, says Knudsen.
“Mobilisation and training of the task force is being undertaken by the company Arctic Protection in Alta”, he adds.
NOFO has in addition a national task force of 60 persons with expertise in team management, on-site response supervision, and advisor roles specialised in oil spill incidents. These are equipped to work together with the inter-municipal contingency organisations during oil spill response operations. More than 40 per cent of this team’s members are recruited from Norway’s three northernmost counties.
Finnmark’s fishermen participating in oil spill response
The fisheries’ organisations and the oil industry have been working together with a long-term strategy to involve fishing vessels in the oil spill response organisation. From 1 January 2011, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate amended its regulations to include fishing vessels in oil spill operations. For the Goliat field, 30 fishing vessels are recruited as part of the response organisation. As of today, 28 of the required 30 vessels from Finnmark are in place. These shall operate equipment specially designed for operations in coastal waters.
“Eni Norge, Statoil and NOFO have enjoyed excellent collaboration with the Fishermen’s Association in northern Norway (Fiskarlaget Nord) in establishing this component of the contingency organisation, specifically tailored to the requirements of the Goliat field”, says Hansen.
“The fishermen have a unique knowledge of the local waters, are used to towing equipment, and can be mobilised at short notice. In this way the oil spill response will be even further strengthened”, says Knudsen.
All fishing vessel crew training is taking place at the Nordkapp Maritime Training Centre, while the IGSA task force and special team receive their training from the Norwegian Fire Protection Institute in Nordland.
Equipment contracts mean millions for northern Norwegian suppliers
In 2011, the oil industry signed contracts with three suppliers for the purchase of new booms, skimmers and vessels to protect the coast and beaches of Finnmark. 75 per cent of the value of these contracts has been awarded to northern Norwegian suppliers. The equipment will be stored in depots to be established in Hasvik and Måsøy.
“The companies NOFI in Tromsø and Norlense in Vesterålen are responsible for a significant share of these deliveries”, says Knudsen. We have extensive experience with these two northern Norwegian companies. We know they will deliver world-class equipment”, he adds.
The equipment currently being supplied will be used mainly during coastal and shoreline operations in Finnmark. The NOK 65 million cost of the combined equipment procurements and purchase of start-up services is being funded in advance by the Goliat licence.
This is in addition to increased annual operating costs amounting to NOK 30 million, which is being covered by the oil industry through NOFO.
NOFO established in Hammerfest
2011 was also the year in which NOFO established its first office outside its headquarters at Forus outside Stavanger. The new office is located in Hammerfest, where NOFO now employs three persons with broad technical and emergency preparedness experience .
“The operating companies on the Norwegian continental shelf have given us a clear mandate to consolidate the oil spill response in northern Norway”, says Knudsen. The coastal and shoreline response organisation is an innovation, and most of the components are now in place”, he says.
Sjur W. Knudsen, Managing Director at NOFO (tel. mob.: +47 908 22 313)
Grethe E. Foldnes, Communication Adviser at Eni Norge (tel. mob. +47 992 30 931)