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Clean-up collaboration with Russia

January 23, 2007, 14:00 CET

A partnership has been established by Statoil with the authorities in Murmansk county to strengthen emergency response to oil spills off north-western Russia.

“The Russians have major offshore developments in the offing,” says Henrik Carlsen, Statoil’s senior vice president for the Barents region.

“That makes demands on arrangements for cleaning up possible oil spills. We want to contribute our expertise so that we can jointly ensure a good environmental standard in the Barents Sea.”

He was attending the opening of the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s new traffic management station in Vardø today, 23 January.

Oil spill equipment now being provided to Murmansk, Russia, has never been used in an actual incident. Similar equipment is shown here in use during a drill. (Photo: Rune Johansen).

This facility’s most important tasks are to monitor ship movements, warn of danger and to manage incidents which could develop into a threat to life, health or the environment.

Also present at the ceremony were representatives from the Murmansk authorities, with whom Statoil collaborates closely.

Both sides believe that modern oil collection equipment will strengthen emergency response in the Kola Fjord, which leads into the Russian port.

In cooperation with the Coastal Administration, Statoil is transferring equipment worth NOK 11 million to Murmansk during April and will help to train operators for it.

Three skimmers previously held available for the Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (Nofo) are to be upgraded by Framo in Bergen.

“A modernisation of clean-up systems is under way on the Norwegian continental shelf,” explains Mr Carlsen.

“Much of the existing equipment has never been used and is suited for deployment in the Kola Fjord.”

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

Statoil has also invested NOK 7 million in laboratory equipment for use by the Russians.

Creating a lab accords with measures for preventing acute oil pollution proposed in Norway’s recent White Paper on a management plan for the Barents Sea and the waters off Lofoten.

“Spilt oil can be collected much more efficiently if its characteristic properties are known,” says Mr Carlsen.

“The aim is to take samples of all the crudes loaded for export in Murmansk. Results from these will be available to both Russian and Norwegian authorities.”

Premises for the lab will be provided by the Murmansk authorities, together with the required oil samples.

Statoil is to install the necessary equipment and provide training in cooperation with Norway’s Sintef research foundation in Trondheim.