Do we not need more HES research in offshore petroleum?

There has been no new funding of HES (Health, Environment and Safety) research projects from the Norwegian Research Council in 2018, and according to the published plans for 2019, no new budgets for HES projects in 2019. After 2012, there were no new budget for HES research until 2017, which is so far the last dedicated funding for offshore HES projects.

The overall picture is thus that with the present government, HES research has been given low priority in the research council.

The White paper (Stortingsmelding) about HES in the offshore petroleum sector was published in April, 2018. The ambition is still that Norway shall be world leading in offshore HES. But it is striking how few new (if any) initiatives the Ministry (ASD) has proposed to achieve (or maintain) this position. It would have been expected that with cost cutting, challenges for tri partite cooperation and new production concepts, there would have been some proposals from the Ministry!

Perhaps this is natural. A Labour party government would be expected to give higher priority to employees’ working conditions and protection than a right wing government, with high focus on tax reduction.

What is the alternative? It is well over 30 years since the last major accident with fatalities in the Norwegian sector. It would be a sad outcome of the present government if a major accident was needed in order to achieve the right focus on offshore safety!

News, R&D