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Predictability crucial in Barents Sea

May 11, 2005, 01:00 CEST

In response to a letter of inquiry, Hydro supports the main features of the Norwegian government's description of challenges and opportunities in the far north. On Wednesday, Hydro's Lars Christian Alsvik takes part in a parliamentary open hearing about the northern regions.

Lars Christian Alsvik


"It's extremely important that the right conditions are created for continuous and predictable activity in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea," says Hydro Oil & Energy's Development sector chief, Lars Christian Alsvik.

He will represent Hydro during the open hearing held by the parliamentary foreign affairs committee on Wednesday.

Throughout the day, the committee will meet representatives from numerous institutes, organizations and companies actively engaged in issues concerning Norway's far northern areas.

The hearing is part of the process behind the parliament's white paper nr. 30 - "Opportunities and challenges in the north," which the government introduced on 15 April.

Important exploration wells
Hydro has participated in the drilling of 45 exploration wells in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea, where a total of about 60 wells have been drilled.

"Results from this year's exploration drilling activities, and opportunities in the 19th concession round, will provide significant indications about how development proceeds in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea," Alsvik says.

"Despite two minor accidental spills earlier this year during exploration drilling on the Obelix prospect, this is the most environmentally friendly well ever drilled in the entire Norwegian offshore sector. It is entirely feasible for oil companies to satisfy the environmental demands in the parliamentary white paper and to compatibly co-exist with the fishing industry and other industries."

Good cooperation
"It is positive the government supports Norwegian industries' activities in the area and that the white paper addresses a number of issues related to cooperation between Russian industry and society," Hydro states in its response to the government's letter of inquiry.

Since 2003, Hydro has been conducting a comprehensive supplier industry project that embraces both sides of the Norwegian and Russian borders in the far north. After thorough evaluation, five companies in Northwest Russia have been qualified to deliver to the Norwegian and Danish offshore sectors.

"Through this work, Hydro has identified the need to raise expertise levels and decided to establish a competence center in Northwest Russia," Alsvik explains.

Hydro believes the competence center, operative in January 2006, will create long-term positive effects for the Barents region. The center will function as a contact point and place for the systematic education of suppliers from both the Russian and Norwegian sides to deliver to large-scale projects like the upcoming Shtokman field development.