Minister of Foreign Affairs to open Hydro offices in Murmansk

February 15, 2006, 07:30 CET

On Wednesday, Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs and representatives of Murmansk Region will open Hydro's new supplier centre in Murmansk, as well as the company's new representation office.

"The representation office will be of great practical use in logistical terms, in connection with the drilling of well number seven in the Shtokman field. Murmansk will play an important role in the forthcoming development of the petroleum industry in the Russian part of the Barents Sea. We want to make a positive contribution with regard to this development. It is therefore natural for Hydro to put down roots in Murmansk," says the head of Hydro's Shtokman project, Senior Vice President Bengt Lie Hansen.

Establishing ”Intershelf”
The establishment of Hydro's supplier development centre "Intershelf" in Murmansk follows from the Letter of Intent Hydro signed with the Governor of Murmansk Region 16 November 2005.

The centre is also the result of Hydro's supplier development project, which the company has run in the region since 2003.

"The opening ceremony on Wednesday represents an important milestone in Hydro's work to create synergies between the Norwegian and Russian energy sectors. Through our supplier development programme, we want to help the Russian supplier industry to become more competitive, and prepare the suppliers for impending projects offshore," says Lie Hansen.

A seminar will be held on Thursday 16 February, covering a range of topical issues relating to the oil and gas industry in this part of Russia.

In addition to presenting the activities of the centre of expertise and giving a status report regarding Hydro's quest to become a partner in the Shtokman project, particular focus will be on questions relating to how Russian industry can best prepare itself for supplying forthcoming projects in the region.

Hydro's supplier development project in Russia was initiated over three years ago, as the result of a joint declaration issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, during a meeting in Oslo in the autumn of 2002.

It was seen as desirable to establish a project within the oil and energy sector which could create synergies between Russia and Norway.

Three universities in Russia have now also entered an agreement on cooperation with Hydro. The scholarship programme aims to connect Norwegian offshore experience with Russian academic expertise within oil and gas, in order to prepare Northwest Russia for future petroleum development in the Russian part of the Barents Sea.

The opening of Hydro's representation office in Murmansk is a natural step in light of the company's increased presence in Northwest Russia.

"Hydro has a long-term perspective concerning our business in Russia, and Nortwest Russia may become a future core area for Hydro. We are now extending our presence in Northwest Russia by establishing a Hydro representation office in murmansk," says president of Hydro Russia, Petter Nore.