Monday, January 26, 2009
StatoilHydro Invests in Arctic Russia's Future
January 23, 2009 - Rigzone News - StatoilHydro is steadily developing a viable offshore suppliers industry in northwest Russia -- and the efforts are making an impact. Russian and Norwegian dignitaries, students and journalists turned out this week for education grant awards and cooperation signing ceremonies between StatoilHydro and schools in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. "This is a very important occasion for northwest Russia and StatoilHydro. We're signing agreements to train local students for opportunities in the region's emerging oil and gas industry," said signatory Bengt-Lie Hansen, StatoilHydro president Russia. He was joined by Lyceum no.6 vocational school principal Grigory Shatilo in Murmansk and ASTU director Alexander Nevzorov in Arkhangelsk. Also present were Norway's deputy foreign minister Elisabeth Walaas, Murmansk regional governor Yuri Evdokimov and Arkhangelsk vice-governor Elena Kudryashova. Granting Opportunity Mr. Lie Hansen handed out grants to 10 welding and machine operator students and two teachers at Lyceum no. 6, which has a total of some 1,000 students, and about 85 in the welding and machine operator courses. Most of the students are between the ages of 15 and 18. About one-third of the welding and machine operator students have grown up in orphanages, and most of the others come from homes run by single mothers. Academic Advancement The students at ASTU are slightly older and more academically advanced. “Russia's offshore technologies are not yet developed and we need cooperation with technologically advanced companies," said Kirill Izmikov, 20, a 2008 grant recipient and summer intern at StatoilHydro's R&D centre in Porsgrunn last year. Mutual Benefit "These programs are not only important for northwest Russia and the schools, but for StatoilHydro's efforts to be an Arctic champion," emphasized Hansen. "A cooperation between people means that you believe in an idea. We believe in you and I hope you believe in us. Together, we can make a difference." Building a Workforce StatoilHydro has been in Russia for more than 20 years and recognizes the acute shortage of qualified labour in the country's far north. "The start up of extensive offshore oil and gas developments in Arctic Russia will demand qualified professionals. In addition to engineers and managers, we need skilled workers," said StatoilHydro Russia head of industrial development, Benedikt Henriksen. The Shtokman offshore gas field development alone will create roughly 1,700 new onshore and offshore jobs in northwest Russia.