About Project

person The Norwegian Petroleum Museum
This website is one result of the Valhall Industrial Heritage project, pursued in 2013-15 to document the Valhall and Hod oil and gas fields on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

The work has covered the platforms on these two fields as well as the pipelines carrying their production to market. Physical structures above and below the waves are detailed ­– exteriors, interiors, machinery and equipment as well as significant modifications. A systematic selection of documentary sources related to Valhall from 1962 to 2012 covers documentation and depictions of characteristic features of the field’s development. These include technological advances, special projects, historical events, negotiations and decisions underlying development decisions and choices, political decisions and debate.

Work has been pursued by the Norwegian Petroleum Museum, the Regional State Archives in Stavanger and the National Library of Norway in Mo i Rana, in cooperation with BP Norge and Hess Norge.

The project has been led by the Norwegian Petroleum Museum , reporting to a council with representatives from the bodies listed in the previous paragraph.

Photographs, films, publications and objects have been preserved by the museum, whose staff has written articles for the website which help to create a context for the archival material.

The National Library and Seeds Consulting have delivered the technical platform for the website, based on the eZ Publish tool and adapted to provide the desired functionality. A search function has also been developed by the National Library to make the digital

material searchable across the whole website. This means that photographs, films, radio clips, books, scanned magazines, objects and other interesting material are now readily accessible.

The National Library has also ensured the preservation of digital radio clips, scanned magazines and digitised film.

The Norwegian Oil and Gas Archive/Regional State Archives in Stavanger has been responsible for the sub-project relating to archives. This has identified, selected, organised and catalogued the records covered by the project.

As operator of the Valhall field, BP Norge has collaborated on the execution of the industrial heritage project with support from fellow licensee Hess Norge.

National Library of Norway

The National Library of Norway is one of the most important sources of information about the country, its people and Norwegian conditions.

Activities at the National Library are pursued in part through collaboration with other institutions, such as libraries, media, educational bodies, research institute, archives, museums and artistic bodies. New services for the public are also developed. The library ranks as an important resource in a number of areas, such as the infrastructure for Norwegian research – including its role as a research library. Others include serving as a cultural policy tool, as a body responsible for the long-term preservation of Norway’s cultural heritage, and ensuring the celebration of author anniversaries.

The library has also been given an expanded responsibility for linguistic policy through the job of establishing, building up and running a Norwegian language bank. In addition, it has been made responsible for developing the library sector in Norway. Digitisation, long-term storage of digitised materials and the development of digital library services represent a key part of the library’s activities.

It has launched an extensive programme to digitise its whole collection – a job expected to take 20-30 years to complete. Materials held by the library are made available in accordance with the Norwegian Copyright Act or under agreements with the holders of intellectual property rights. The National Library has almost 450 employees and is headed by a director general. Its operations are split between Oslo and the north Norwegian town of Mo i Rana.

Role of the National Library in Valhall Industrial Heritage

A copy of all information made available in the Norwegian public domain must be deposited with the National Library, which is in the process of digitising its whole collection. It is accordingly equipped to make available that part of its collection which relates to the field via the search page on the Valhall Industrial Heritage site. Books, newspapers, radio programmes and minor printed works found here have been digitised by the National Library, which has also received digital files and metadata for photographs and objects (from the Digital Museum ) as well as films.

The library also operates the complete web solution used by the Valhall Industrial Heritage site, and has implemented the search engine for the site. This makes it possible to search both metadata (name, title, author, etc) and the actual content of a book or other printed work. Users can also view or listen to the relevant digital object. In addition, they can find other digital material in the National Library’s own digital collection .

Norwegian Oil and Gas Archive

The Norwegian Oil and Gas Archive has national responsibility for preserving records from this industry and making them accessible. These materials come from operator companies as well as suppliers, unions, government bodies and key people in the sector.

Among suppliers come such players as Moss Rosenberg Verft, Teekay, NorSeaGroup and Norwegian Contractors, while organisations include the Norwegian Union of Industry and Energy Workers (IE), the Norwegian Union of Energy Workers (Safe) and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association. Archives have also been preserved from an extensive downstream industry, other organisations such as the Petroleum Wives Club, and a number of individuals.

Handling of materials

The various documents received by the archive go through an important process before they are ready for long-term deposition in the storage facility. This includes removing plastic sleeves, files, binders and other covers which could damage the paperwork, and replacing packaging with a new acid-free material for optimum preservation. Such purging and repacking reduces the volume of the archive by 40 per cent on average, without any scrapping of the actual records. Once the process has been completed, the material is placed in the climate-controlled store. That creates the best possible conditions for indefinite preservation. Finally, the material is registered in the Asta database maintained by the National Archives and published in the catalogue at www.arkivportalen.no .

Such registration makes the records searchable and simplifies access to it by the public. However, the material is not initially open to all. Permission to study an archive must be granted by its owner on the basis of a written application. All the records will ultimately become public in a 100-year perspective.

Archives with information on Valhall

Records about and from the field are found in a number of different government and private archives, providing a comprehensive picture of Valhall’s development and social role.

Public-sector archives derive, for example, from the Ministry of Industry’s oil office, the NPD, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) and the police relating to their specific areas of responsibility. The NPD, as the successor to the oil office, has served as the regulator for the petroleum sector, originally covering both safety and resource management. Established in 2004 by separating the safety department from the NPD, the PSA has yet to deliver records to the oil and gas archive.

Among private companies, BP Norge – as operator for Valhall – has deposited the largest volume of archival material about the field. That originally totalled 145 shelf-metres, reduced to just under 100 after sorting and registration. This is the old Amoco Norway Oil company archive, and is registered as private archive 1740 at the Regional State Archives in Stavanger. Its contents cover a period of more than 30 years, from 1965 to 1999, documenting Amoco Norway’s operations in Norway and on the NCS. The materials cover the company’s relations with government, licence partners, Norwegian society as a whole and employees, and range widely. They document everything from major technological achievements to smaller triumphs – such as a successful Christmas party.

The important decisions taken in Amoco Norway over the years can often be found in the abundant selection of minutes from meetings in various bodies. These include the operating committee, management committee, exploration committee, Valhall unit committee, bid committee and partner meetings. The deliberations of these bodies provide a good insight into the history of the company, revealing how decisions were discussed, assessed, justified and implemented. Although the archive documents the whole range of Amoco Norway’s operations, the bulk of the material naturally enough deals with the Valhall and Hod fields. The section dealing with the latter covers such aspects as Hod development and planning reports, administration, engineering, fabrication and transport/installation, and the Hod saddle project.

More than a third of the whole archive deals directly with Valhall, including development and planning, committees, meetings and minutes, economics and safety. In addition come details on the living quarters, drilling, process and compression, wellhead and riser platforms as well as on engineering. Other topics include daily activity reports, production operations, field development, oil and gas pipelines and incoming/outgoing correspondence. The language in the archive varies between Norwegian and English, with most reports, correspondence and minutes of meetings in the latter. The file index uses English terms.

Since it largely follows Amoco Norway’s file index, the archive is simple to navigate – which eases retrieval and searches. All the same, a good many reports and the like fail to comply with the file index. However, they are searchable by key word, title and year. Hess Norge, which is BP Norge’s fellow licensee in Valhall, has so far deposited only a small quantity of records with the Norwegian Oil and Gas Archive. This material, both paper-based and electronic, has been mapped. It contains interesting information related to Valhall, but also to Hess in general. So further deposits are possible.

In addition to the oil companies, the Amoco Company Union (ABC) has transferred a great many of its files. It was established in 1982 as a “house” union for Amoco employees. After the merger between Amoco and BP, it changed its name to the Employees Company Union – retaining the same initials in Norwegian. It is now the BP branch of the IE union. The records deposited with the Regional State Archives in Stavanger amount to six-seven shelf-metres, and consist largely of correspondence, minutes of various meetings and printed materials.

Published 9. August 2019   •   Updated 14. October 2020
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