'Hydro no environmental offender'

November 7, 2001, 00:00 CET

"I take a sharp stand against accusations Hydro is an environmental offender," says Hydro executive vice president Tore Torvund, referring to fresh allegations by environmental special interest group Bellona.

"Comments made last week by the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) concerning several procedural shortcomings have not led to any substantial environmental spills," he says. Torvund refuses to accept conclusions by Bellona, made after an SFT inspection report was published last week by the press. Depite faults in Hydro's procedural handling of such issues as using oil industry chemicals, there is no evidence sea life has been adversely impacted.

"Mistakes and shortcomings outlined in the SFT report will be corrected," Torvund asserts. "Hydro management does not accept the violation of rules and we do not accept allegations that we've ignored errors previously indicated.  This must be made clear to everyone."

Hydro has implemented a substantial "cutting-edge environment project" within the company's Norwegian oil activities. The endeavor teaches key personnel more about environmental regulations. It thoroughly evaluates all operative units to ensure Hydro's oil activities run entirely within internal and external demands.

"The goal of this work is to ensure and document that a high degree of quality predominates our environmental work," Torvund says.

SFT has indicated a series of shortcomings regarding Hydro's follow-up of environmental demands made on the oil industry as a whole. For example, Hydro's use of chemicals without permission and using greater quantities than officially allowed.  The reasons are companies are permitted to use chemicals and apply greater quantities than originally allowed while undergoing the formal permit process.

"Considering the background behind the errors pointed out by the SFT, some media reports on the issue have been misleading. Hydro is no environmental offender. We have and will continue to make big efforts to reduce the risk of harmful environmental emissions into the air and water. We have taken the initiative to numerous measures that have made significant envirnmental progress. I can, for example, point out Troll Pilot, which cuts emissions of produced water, our use of combined (renewable and fossil-fuel) power on Oseberg Delta and Snorre B, which reduces climate gas emissions, and  Hydro's role in both internal and joint research and development projects within Norway's oil and gas industry, Torvund concludes.