Hours breach sparks reaction

February 21, 2003, 11:45 CET

A formal complaint to the police made against Statoil by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority on 20 February is being taken very seriously by the group.

The authority is alleging breaches of Norway’s working time regulations by Aker Kværner sub-contractors involved in the petrol desulphurisation project at Statoil’s Mongstad refinery.

“It’s unacceptable for Norwegian law to be broken at our plants,” says Erling Øverland, executive vice president for the Manufacturing & Marketing business area.

“This must not happen. We’re in continuous dialogue with Aker Kværner, which is the main contractor for the project in question.

“We’ve tightened our routines towards the company and its sub-contractors, and now receive daily reports which show that the working time rules are being observed.”

As the client for the construction project at the refinery near Bergen, Statoil is ultimately responsible for the work done there.

The contract with Aker Kværner specifies that the job must be done in accordance with Norwegian law – and that this provision also applies to sub-contractors.

“As a result of this case, we’re implementing a number of measures to prevent such breaches in future,” says Mr Øverland.

“These will embrace routines and procedures – and not least attitudes - among those working for us.”

Aker Kværner won the Mongstad contract in July 2001, and the plant is due to be ready in April to produce virtually sulphur-free petrol and diesel oil.