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Petroleum Museum Stavanger


The Norwegian Petroleum Museum was opened on 20 May 1999 and its unusual architecture has made it a new, exciting landmark in the Port of Stavanger.


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Why is there oil and gas in the North Sea? What technology do we need to extract these resources and what are oil and gas used for? What is it like living and working on an oil rig out at sea?

You will find the answers to these questions and much, much more at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. With the help of audio-visual aids, objects and interactive installations, the exhibitions provide a fascinating insight into the geological, political, economic and technical factors that affect the oil industry.


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History of the earth
Why do we have oil in Norway? Natural history through billions of years.
A global force
Petroleum a raw material, source of energy and factor of power
On the cutting edge of technology
Drilling deeper and deeper innovative solutions on the Norwegian continental shelf
Factories at sea
Place of work: the North Sea - a journey to an unknown part of Norway.


Ekofisk - a Christmas present in 1969

Exploration for oil and gas in the Norwegian North Sea began at 08.20 on 19. july 1966, when Ocean Traveler spudded the first well in these waters. But wells were needed before the industry's luck turned. Ekofisk was discovered in the late autumn of 1969, earning it the nickname "Norway's Christmas present" Regular oil production began from this field in 1971. Today, Norway ranks second only to Saudi Arabia among the world's oil exporters.


Life offshore

About 25 000 people work on the Norwegian continental shelf in relation to oil and gas production, with some 3000-4000 employed on the installations at any one time. About 10 per cent of this workforce are women.
Norway had 42 fields producing in the North Sea and eight in the Norwegian Sea at 31 December 2005. Eighty nine fixed installations were in regular Operation then, while 21 had ceased production.
An offshore tour lasts normally 14 days, followed by four weeks of free time on land. After a 12-hour shift, most crew relax in the common rooms. They gather in the lounge for a chat, a read of the papers, a game of cards, a smoke and a cup of coffee. The latest newspapers from all over Norway, and particularly the local press are important for welfare on board.


At work

Crew employed on deck or in the process facilities keep their work garments and personal protective gear in the changing room. The job calls for protective goggles, gloves and boots, ear protectors, hard hats and flame-retardant clothes, Personnel also have to wear safety harnesses and lifejackets when working up high or over water. During hot work, such as welding, the areas involved must be free of gas or other easily-combustible substances.

The catering department is responsible for the changing rooms and for cleaning the living quarters. But keeping things clean and tidy is not the only element in a good working environment. Strict rules on hygiene aim to avoid outbreaks of illness food poisoning, for instance which could at worst mean a production shut-down.


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Copyright 2007, Hanspeter Hochuli, Ennetburgen, Switzerland
last updated:  20.07.2007