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Taking students to Svalbard

August 25, 2003, 11:00 CEST

A number of students taking petroleum-related subjects in Norway have been invited by Statoil on its fourth annual Svalex expedition to the far northern Svalbard (Spitsbergen) islands.

This year’s group includes about 80 prospective geoscientists, petroleum technologists and reservoir engineers, along with Statoil personnel and 30 academics.

The programme began on Svalbard on 24 August and is due to run until 4 September.

Statoil provides both financial and professional support for a number of Norwegian research institutions and higher education establishments to help boost recruitment to the petroleum sector.

The annual Svalex project involves collaboration with the universities of Svalbard, Tromsø, Trondheim, Bergen and Oslo and the Stavanger University College.

This expedition is organised as a multidisciplinary case study based on learning in the field, with nature and geology in the islands providing a perfect setting.

Statoil derives great benefit from Svalex, notes project manager Martin Bekkeheien, a vice president in the group’s Technology area.

“We’re helping to boost the quality of education in these disciplines,” he says. “Svalex can help to strengthen recruitment to the petroleum industry and provide valuable marketing of Statoil – both in-house and externally.”

The expedition also provides valuable experience for new recruits to the group, not least in relation to its plans for further internationalisation.

A new component in this year’s Svalex programme is a “perspective day”, which reviews the history of Norway’s petroleum industry and takes a look ahead.

Speakers here will include Arve Johnsen, Statoil’s first chief executive, and the day also covers the significance of oil for the Norwegian economy.