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High HSE standards are a clear requirement

The petroleum industry has become a pioneer in HSE work, and all the players involved deserve praise for this development. However, areas remain where the government expects to see an intensified commitment to improving safety even further. This message from the Norwegian government was given during the HSE luncheon.

Health, environment and safety are important elements in the petroleum activities, and are naturally also central issues in the program of the the oil exhibition in Stavanger 22-25 August. The HSE lunch was first held by ONS and the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway two years ago, and its target groups are industry executives, HSE delegates, union representatives and representatives from the governing authorities.

This year, the winner of the HSE-related "PSA Award" was also announced during the event.

Inclusive working life
According to the programme, the minister of labour and social inclusion, Bjarne Håkon Hanssen was supposed to give one of the speeches. Unfortunately mr. Hanssen had to cancel, and the parliamentary secretary, mr Jan-Erik Støstad, replaced him.

"We want a safe petroleum activity which takes the lead on reaching such goals as an inclusive working life, which allows people to follow an occupation without risking exclusion and damage to their health, mr Støstad emphasized.

He refered to the Soria Moria declaration made by the present government on taking office expressed a clear ambition to ensure that the Norwegian petroleum activity leads the world for HSE. To reach this target, requirements must be set for systematic work and quality by all players and at every stage from planning to final shut-down.

He also underlined that the government's clear assessment is that business development, technological advances, productivity and concern for HSE are mutually dependent elements which collectively build a robust industry.

No tolerance for corruption
Right Honourable Paul Boateng, UK High Commissioner to South Africa, was invited to present his perspectives on building the energy gap safely.

Mr. Boateng refered to The Commission for Africa Report built on the work of the "World commission on environment & development" of 1987.

- In that report the Norwegian and world states person Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland set out the best and clearest definition to date of sustainable development as being "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs." This definition is as relevant of course to the North Sea as to the Caspian or the West Coast of Africa and presents the context in which we look at the challenge of maintaining and developing the Health, Safety and Environmental standards which are the best guarantees to the access of resources and the sustainability of long term business, mr Boateng said.

He also adressed the oil industri as a very capital-intensive and long-term industry, to show no tolerance on corruption.

- The equation is simple: secure your investments by being seen by the people of the countries where you invest as being a business that has no tolerance for corruption - that your relationship is with the country, not with a very small number of people in those countries. Transparency is about future-proofing your contracts in such countries - because individuals come and go, and so do companies who tie their futures too closely to individuals, mr Boateng underlined.