Strengthened oil spill preparedness cooperation

June 10, 2008, 16:49 CEST

Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre (left), his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and Yuri Evdokimov, Governor of the Murmansk region, received a traditional welcome with bread and salt. (Photo:Margarita Polyakova)

The opening marks a new milestone in the environmental cooperation between StatoilHydro and Murmansk regional government.

Murmansk is used as a transhipment port for loading crude oil into large tankers sailing to Europe and the USA.

Analyses oil samples
The laboratory’s task is to analyse the oil samples taken from all the crudes loaded for export in Murmansk.

“International experience from major oil spills shows that the spilt oil can be collected much more efficiently if its characteristic properties are known,” explains president of StatoilHydro in Russia, Bengt Lie Hansen.

“This is an important cross-boarder project, as the results of the analysis will be available to both Russian and Norwegian authorities.”

Regional cooperation
Premises for the laboratory were provided by the Murmansk regional authorities: the laboratory is established at Federal State Enterprise Murmansk Centre for Standardization, Metrology and Certification.

Regional authorities will also ensure that the laboratory gets the required oil samples. StatoilHydro has supplied the necessary equipment and organized personnel training in cooperation with Norway’s Sintef research foundation in Trondheim.

Environmental programme
Opening of the oil spill laboratory is a part of a broad environmental programme aimed at strengthening emergency response to oil spills off north-western Russia, implemented jointly by StatoilHydro and Murmansk regional government within the frames of the MoU about technical and economic cooperation.

“The Barents Sea is a unique ecosystem, and in addition to that it is our joint fishing ground with Norway. This is why we claim that the upcoming oil and gas projects must be carried out in strict compliance with the European environmental standards and in close cooperation between all the participants,” says Yuri Evdokimov, Governor of the Murmansk region.

“We need to create a front-edge emergency preparedness system that could be further upgraded and developed.”