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Dragados thoroughly assessed

February 12, 2003, 17:30 CET

A thorough assessment underlay Statoil’s choice of Dragados to build the Snøhvit processing plant, says chief executive Olav Fjell in a comment on the debate in the Norwegian media.

The Spanish fabricator submitted the best bid in terms of quality, price, ability to deliver and standards for health, safety and the environment.

A discussion of this contract for the Barents Sea development has blown up in Norway following the recommendation of Dragados.

Mr Fjell adds that Statoil has found nothing to suggest that it should reverse its decision and postpone the award of the contract.

“Our investigations show that Dragados is well qualified. Nor can we see that it has been guilty of adopting illegal or unethical methods.”

Should the investigation now being launched by the Norwegian government come to a different conclusion, he says, this would have to be assessed at that time.

However, Mr Fjell notes that such an investigation will necessarily take some time.

“I hope for understanding that we can’t award a job worth about NOK 1.5 billion without competition, and that the best bid must win when we go out to tender.

“The difference between the bids made by Dragados and Norway’s Aker Kværner group was very considerable - around 50 per cent.”

Norwegian companies have won a great many Statoil contracts in recent years, and accounted for NOK 30 billion of the NOK 43 billion in work placed by the group last year.

“We’ve now awarded contracts worth NOK 10.5 billion for Snøhvit, and the domestic proportion amounts to 36 per cent,” Mr Fjell points out.

“We estimated a Norwegian share of 38 per cent in the plans submitted to the authorities, and do not expect to come below this forecast.”

He understands the immediate reaction among workers at Aker Kværner’s Stavanger yard, but hopes people will eventually appreciate that Statoil has followed correct procedures.