Backing chemical cuts

July 30, 1999, 09:45 CEST

An action plan drawn up by the Norwegian government to cut the use of hazardous chemicals has been given full backing by Statoil.

"The views expressed by environment minister Guro Fjellanger are entirely in line with our own attitudes," says Knut Barland, vice president for the environment at the group.

"We're in full swing with implementing specific measures to achieve our target of zero discharges of chemicals which do lasting harm to the environment."

Presented on Wednesday, the government's proposals focus on substances which are damaging to human health and the environment. Industry is requested to accept greater responsibility for reducing the risks posed by using chemicals.

"We've already compiled a project manual in this area, and an action team is hard at work on planning how specific measures should be implemented," says Mr Barland.

The Norwegian-language manual (Tiltakskartlegging av Statoil-opererte installasjoner og felt. Strategi for null utslipp til sjø) presents a survey of measures for Statoil-operated installations and fields, with a strategy for zero discharges to the sea.

It has been prepared as a follow-up to an order from the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) requiring Statoil to achieve zero harmful discharges.

Specific measures cited by Mr Barland include injection of produced water, adoption of treatment technology and replacement of hazardous chemicals with less toxic variants.

He emphasises that more than 90 per cent of the chemicals used for Statoil wells are on the SFT's list of "green" substances which cause no environmental damage. Drilling accounts for the bulk of chemicals consumed by the group.

Statoil also uses chemicals in its offshore production, maintenance and cleaning operations. All discharges by the group are listed in reports submitted to the SFT and in its annual report.

Mr Barland notes that Statoil has broad expertise in the field of chemicals, which is actively applied to monitor and reduce even further its use of such substances.