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Ognedal ready for six more years

Magne Ognedal (66) looks forward to starting a new term as director of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). He sees the appointment as a confirmation that the PSA is ”on the right track”.

Magne Ognedal was appointed director of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway for a new term by the King in Council on 27 November 2009. Ognedal has held this position since the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway was established on 1 January 2004.

Magne Ognedal was trained as a chartered engineer at the University of Newcastle. He previously held the position as director of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate before becoming director of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway. Ognedal has broad experience from a number of councils and committees, both national and international.

" I am glad to have received renewed trust," says Magne Ognedal about his appointment for a new term as the most senior head of the PSA.

Magne Ognedal has held the position as director of the PSA since the authority was established on 1 January 2004. Before that, he was the director of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

Ognedal sees the appointment as a confirmation that the PSA is on the right track, but at the same time he warns against thinking the goal has been reached.

"The most important challenges for the PSA now are to ensure that we have regulations which function and are updated - and which address the challenges faced by the industry in a good manner, and furthermore to ensure that the PSA as an organisation has good methods to follow up and monitor the industry," Ognedal says.

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Magne Ognedal

Ognedal was appointed by the King in Council on 27 November. The new term starts on 1 January.

Through three decades Ognedal has clearly left his mark on the development of safety on the Norwegian shelf. Many others would have preferred to retire at 66, but not Magne Ognedal.

- Why did you apply for a new term?

"I have given it a lot of thought, and considered the pros and cons. The main reason why I wanted a new term was that I believe I still have something to contribute, both as regards to ensuring continuity and the ability to ensure that the PSA is correctly adjusted in relation to the industry.

It was not an easy decision," Ognedal admits

The important heads
"After all, there was the alternative - to make a change – to do something completely different. In the same way, this could have been a possibility for the organisation to get some new blood in at the top. Just what would be best for the PSA I cannot say for sure," he says.

- But the benefits of you continuing are …?

"Not least the fact that I represent a continuity, a historical development. After all, I have warned against tendencies to the opposite in the industry, namely a lack of a sense of history and a lack of knowledge.

"The PSA's history is not in the walls, it is in heads of those who work here. It is these heads which are important," says Ognedal.

“In addition to this, the PSA is facing some important decisions which must be made. It could be an advantage that the person who initiated this process is also there when the decisions must be made.”

Flexible organisation
Ognedal believes professionalism and flexibility are key words which accurately describe the PSA.

"The organisation has an amazing ability to react quickly and handle tasks that suddenly come up. We are also highly qualified in our disciplines, we have a very competent staff. And we perform our job with a great degree of professionalism."

Ognedal does not rule out organisational changes during the course of the coming term.

"The question is whether the PSA is correctly organised compared with the tasks we are to perform, the framework conditions we have and the challenges facing the industry in general. It is only natural that we carefully review this and assess this in relation to the strategy work," he says.

Happy returns
- You will turn 70 during the term. What are your thoughts on that?

"To put it this way, I know the State's age limit is 70 years. But other that that, I haven't given it much thought. We will have to deal with it when the time comes.

- Will you sit for the entire term?

"I give no guarantees," Ognedal says, laughing.

After the appointment was made public, well-wishers have congratulated Ognedal on the phone, through e-mails and at the PSA director's office.

"It has been nice to receive all of the messages and congratulations after the appointment was made public. I have received flowers and greetings from colleagues in the PSA, from the ministry, from other agencies and colleagues abroad. This has really warmed my heart," says Ognedal.