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Exclusive geology lesson at Sandsli

April 19, 2007, 16:00 CEST

Norway's Queen Sonja and Austrias Margit Fischer, married to Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer, visited Hydro's oil and gas research center at Sandsli, Bergen, on Thursday and were given an introductory course in geology lasting just under an hour.

The visit to Sandsli was held at the same time as their husbands made a trip offshore to Oseberg Field Centre as part of the official Austrian state visit to Norway.

On arrival at Sandsli, the guests were given a warm welcome with flowers and flags – which children from the Hydro kindergarten Furuholtet were waving in a rather cold northerly wind.

The children who presented the flowers were Line Sofie Haaland and Knut Henrik Brettingen, both five years old. They were not in the slightest bit nervous. In return, they received some friendly words and a tiny present – a silver coin from the Austrian President’s wife.

In the middle of the lunch hour

The official welcome was given by Øystein Michelsen and Hilde Tonne, heads of the Operations and Techology units of Hydro, respectively. Bergen’s mayor Herman Friele and county governor Svein Alsaker also accompanied the visitors.

From the entrance at Sandsli, the royal entourage continued through the canteen, where many Hydro employees caught a glimpse of the distinguished visitors as an unusual, ceremonious interlude in the middle of the lunch break.

Once safely in the sedimentology lab and the so-called "Cave", three-dimensional geology was on the agenda for the visitors, explained by researcher Jens Grimsgaard and senior researcher Ole Martinsen. The latter also explained the special history of the geology of the Grane field, which is currently Hydro’s largest producing oil field.

Following the tour, the geology lesson continued, with Hydro’s head of Operations Øystein Michelsen being posed a range of questions by the Austrian President’s wife. It was obvious that the topic of geology grabbed the interest of a guests.