We survive in Stavanger: Living in the Energy Capital

Stavanger is Europe’s Oil and Gas capital. The main source of income for the locals comes from working in the petroleum industry. Stavanger is home to 35 Oil and Gas companies that specialise in oilfield service and technology. With the world’s major oil fields just off its coast, it’s no wonder that Norway is the largest producer of Oil & Gas outside the Middle East.

A community built on energy

Oil prices have been one of the most watched trends in economics during the 21st century. July 2008 saw oil prices drop from $144.29 to $33.87 in 5 months and the local community in Stavanger was hit hard.

Knut Gregersen has been working offshore through Atlas Professionals since early 2015. Raised in Kristansand, Knut Gregersen grew up in a community with a strong focus on the shipbuilding and Oil & Gas industries. “My father has been working offshore in drilling since before I was born,” says Knut, “he worked on the offshore oil rigs in the North Sea, and he would spend long periods of time working away from home but I got used to that. I guess my interest in working on the drilling rig floor came from him.”

As a Roughneck, Knut has several responsibilities such as handling the specialised drilling equipment, adding new pipe-lengths, managing fluids and cleaning and overseeing operations. Like his father, Knut has worked as a Roughneck and has developed his career working in the Oil & Gas fields in the North Sea. “One project that stands out to me is when I worked on the Oseberg field in 2012. I took the lead on some parts of the commissioning phase.”

Oseberg

Discovered in 1979, the Oseberg field is a significant milestone in Norway’s independent oil and gas market. “I was responsible for the deck crew during a challenging operation. We had to lift a new module onto the rig as we were switching the drilling unit. During that process a lot of things start running through your mind, is the module secure, am I clear in my communication, and how can I carry out the operation to the highest safety standards. The spacing for the module was tight and there were a number of people involved in the manoeuvre. It was a new challenge as I haven’t had that kind of responsibility before.”

We survive in Stavanger

Knut witnessed the effects of the downturn on his community, “I have experienced the downturn in Norway twice in one year. I lost my job and then moved to another firm, I was there only for about 6 months and the oil price plummeted and sadly I lost my job there as well. It was difficult to watch how the industry effected the local area. Businesses closed down and with less commuters on the road the rush hour almost dropped down to half. The city depends on this industry and when the major oil companies back out of deals it filters down to the smaller businesses.

“Stavanger is surviving and the city has been more positive. The industry is hoping for an upturn but I think we still have some way to go before that happens. There are always new fields to explore and discover. I believe there are over 6000 wells in the North Sea now, some producing, some improving and then all to plug, so there is a demand for work for the specialists who live in the city. Atlas Professionals has been helpful in finding me new work. My Account Manager Frode Myhre is great and keeps me informed on new projects that will match my interests and skills.”

Not just a job

“Now that I’m a father to two young boys I can understand what my father must of felt like when he went to work offshore. Two weeks may drag by, but coming home to them for 4 weeks makes it worth the wait. Working offshore is not just my job, it’s my interest and passion. I’m impressed by the advancements in technology every day and working in an industry that is a part of my heritage and culture. All the different people you get to meet out there on the rigs and platforms, is very interesting and great fun.”