Y2K problems absent

January 3, 2000, 07:00 CET

The transition to the 21st century was accomplished without problems worth mentioning at all Statoil's operational facilities world-wide.

According to Christian Hvam, who headed operational contingency arrangements on New Year's Eve, all production units and plants in the group had reported to the emergency centre at head office that everything was okay within the first 40 minutes of the new century.

All necessary system testing was completed by 04.00 on 1 January, and the centre received only five reports of completely minor problems during the night.

Active efforts have been made by Statoil over the past two years – at a cost of NOK 400 million – to be well prepared for possible Year 2000 (Y2K) problems arising from the change of date.

In the event, none of the contingency plans proved necessary, but Mr Hvam is convinced that the preparatory efforts were required.

"Operational systems had to be checked and upgraded. We didn't find that many serious faults, but correcting those we did encounter was essential."

Thomas McInally, who headed emergency preparations on the information technology side, is relieved and pleased that no failures hit the computer and telecommunication systems.

"We were well prepared, and believed our systems to be Y2K compliant. It's impossible to say what might have happened if these precautions weren't taken.

"As far as we're aware, only one country in the world has reported problems. That was Gambia, where very limited contingency arrangements were in place."

The next step is to ensure that no problems arise on 3 January, the first regular working day of the new year for Statoil employees in Norway.

Mr McInally says that testing of all important systems relating to oil and gas production, and all standard software, was completed by 14.00 on 2 January.

But he is not prepared to guarantee how computer programmes installed by some employees and not supported by central IT units will respond.

He reports that the actual clock on the company's Y2K net site ran into countdown problems. "When 00.00 struck on 31 December, it jumped back a month and is now working its way through December a second time."