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Fined for discharge

March 2, 2001, 09:00 CET

The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime in Norway (Økokrim) has fined Statoil NOK 2 million for discharging water containing traces of glycol and phenol from the Kårstø plant north of Stavanger.

The discharges took place from September 1995 to March 1998.

Statoil discovered the discharges during a control of the purification plant and notified the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT). An inspection of the pipe systems revealed that a valve on one of the underground drain lines was open. This valve should have been closed.

The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) has carried out several surveys of the seabed around Kårstø after the discharges were revealed. The surveys have not indicated any negative environmental effects on the fauna or sediment.

Statoil is working to achieve the objective of zero discharge of harmful substances, and vice president Leidulf Ramstad at Kårstø offers his profuse apologies for what has happened.

“We believed that we had a system that secured us against such discharges. Now we have to admit that our internal control and documentation requirements have not been sufficient in this instance,” he says.

Statoil intends to accept the fine. Mr Ramstad maintains, however, that neither Økokrim nor SFT has stated that the discharges led to confirmed damage to the environment.

“But nevertheless, such discharges must not occur,” he adds.

Since June 1999, the practice at the Kårstø facilities has been to send the glycol contaminated water to a biological purification plant in Denmark.