Today, I flew back from Bergen, on the West coast of Norway, after 24 incredible hours visiting Statoil’s (CL) impressive Troll platform.
Now it has taken me a few years to get this trip organised, but I must say, it’s all been worth it.
Taking a helicopter with Statoil’s CFO, Torgrim Reitan, and seven other very keen journalists, including the Economist, WSJ Europe and Petroleum Economist, we flew 25 minutes to reach Troll’s Platform A.
On board, the platform manager gave us a tour of the sites. The highlight of which, can only be the shaky 8 minute elevator ride down 303 metres below sea level to walk on the North Sea bed. Down there, separated by the Sea by only 1.5 metres of concrete, you could hear the force of the waves hitting against this incredible platform’s pillars. You could also hear (or more likely feel) the gas being pumped upwards as you touch the platform’s main pipelines.
The Troll platform delivers gas to 10 million households in Europe and accounts for 40% of gas used yearly in the UK. As such it plays an important role in the UK energy market. To commemorate the experience we all signed our names on the inner walls – next to Norway’s ex-prime minister and Norway’s King and Queen.
Coming back above sea level (all feeling a little relieved), we were shown the health and safety equipment – including emergency life boats which drop into the sea within 3 seconds of release – and the gas compressor room.
I am hoping by now you have a pretty clear picture of my experience yesterday, what you may not imagine though is how clean and comfortable the platform is designed to be. With recycling bins on every level, lounges that could rival those of a cruise ship and bedrooms bigger than some in London – it is certainly state of the art for a rig!
I am grateful to Statoil for the privilege of such an experience and grateful to all those who attended and made it an even better event. Definitely a career highlight!