Ekofisk Industrial Heritage
This web site is a result of the Ekofisk Industrial Heritage documentation project, covering the first phase of oil and gas development (Ekofisk I) in the Ekofisk area of the Norwegian North Sea. That phase is over, with 14 platforms due to be disassembled and removed up to 2013. Structures supported by the concrete Ekofisk tank will also go.
The Ekofisk Industrial Heritage project has involved a systematic selection of documentary source material relating to the first development stage from 1962-98. Documentation does not cover Ekofisk II, and this phase – which includes new and modern platforms – is only mentioned where necessary to provide a full picture.
Ekofisk occupies a central place in Norway’s petroleum history as the first producing oil and gas field on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).
This position, combined with the size of the field and its interesting development history, defines Ekofisk as a part of Norway’s industrial heritage with national value. The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage has characterised the installations in the Ekofisk area as “some of the largest and most complex cultural monuments of our time”. It emphasises their significance as an important symbol of modern Norway’s emergence. In line with the provisions of the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Act, the directorate called for the creation of a documentation project to cover Ekofisk. Documenting such a large technical-industrial monument is a complex business, not least because so many aspects of the installations and operations need to be covered.
The documentation is also extensive and complicated, spread between a number of owners and storage media. And new material has had to be collected in addition to systematising and arranging existing documents.
This project represents the first time that cultural relics and environments from the petroleum sector have been documented on such a scale. Although its work has now been completed, the project team does not regard the result as final. We would welcome comments from users of this site, which can be provided by clicking on Contact us and completing the form.
The Ekofisk Industrial Heritage project has been run from 2002-04 by the Norwegian Petroleum Museum for ConocoPhillips Norge and the Ekofisk I licensees, Norpipe Oil and the licensees of the Albuskjell field. The latter also include Norske Shell. The Directorate for Cultural Heritage has been a key partner in initiating and following up the project. Work on collecting, selecting, registering and storing source material has been pursued in close collaboration with the National Library of Norway and the Stavanger department of the National Archival Services of Norway. This has accordingly been a true “ALM” project, involving cooperation between archives, libraries and museums.
The Petroleum Museum has established an archival solution for preserving sources, with the emphasis on drawings, photographs, film, publications, objects, interviews and other material.
Digital databases represent the principal medium for storing these sources. So the outcome of the project can be called a digital national memory – made accessible through this web site.
The project has utilised original sources and made an extensive selection of these materials in order to present a comprehensible documentation of Ekofisk.
An edited presentation of the field’s development and significance for people and society is provided on the web site. All the source material collected can also be searched.
The project team at the Petroleum Museum has comprised Harald Tønnesen (project manager), Kristin Øye Gjerde (researcher), Trude Meland (assistant), Jan A Tjemsland (assistant) and Synnøve Hageberg (librarian). The Petroleum Museum’s web site can be accessed at http://www.norskolje.museum.no/uk/hovedframe.htm.
Responsibility for the archive sub-project has rested with the Stavanger department of the National Archival Services. This work has involved securing an overview of the archives to be included in the project as well as selecting, organising, cataloguing and depositing them.
After a demanding selection process, relevant archives from the ConocoPhillips offices in Oslo and Stavanger plus a great deal of material from the health and human resources departments were transferred to the Stavanger archives for sorting.
The sorted and catalogued archive occupies about 200 metres of shelving, which will be preserved for future generations by the Stavanger archives. More than 1 000 maps and drawings are also due to be deposited there. A more detailed description of the archival project is presented in an article in English on the National Archival Services web site at http://www.arkivverket.no/stavanger/konferanse/ekofisk.html.
The National Library has participated in the Ekofisk Industrial Heritage project for three specific reasons. First, the library has much relevant material relating to the pioneering period in the North Sea, including films and photographs. The project offered an opportunity to complete these collections. Second, the project gave the library an opportunity to participate in the overall conservation of sources which would document the Ekofisk area for future generations. A third challenge presented by the project was to develop a common interface for searching different databases at various institutions. By adopting the OpenArchiveInitiative protocol, the library has delivered a basic technical solution which meets the desire for an overall search. This can also provide a model for future ALM cooperation. The National Library’s web site can be found at http://www.kb.nl/gabriel/libraries/pages_generated/no_en.html.
NetPower Web Solutions AS has been responsible for developing this web site on the basis of the Dashboard Portal Server publication tool, expanded to support the desired functionality. Developers at the company have also illustrated and implemented various displays on the site.
The operator and licensees for the Ekofisk area have documented the history of the various fields since the start. Events are preserved in photographs, film/video, drawings, articles, speeches and every type of document. That means that the basis for documenting the area as the historical monument it truly represents already existed when the Directorate for Cultural Heritage called for this to be done in 1999, when the impact assessment for the Ekofisk I cessation plan was being drawn up.
The Ekofisk Industrial Heritage project has accordingly been able to draw on a huge body of material, and has organised a selection of these sources.
As operator, ConocoPhillips has facilitated the whole project with the support of the other licensees.