Britt Flo lives in the town of Molde, where she runs the local business association. She saw first-hand how a project to unlock natural gas from deep below the sea and process it on shore brought new jobs and opportunities to the region.
“The Ormen Lange deep-water project and Nyhamna processing plant have been important for business growth,” she says.
The offshore gas field development and onshore plant, which began operating in 2007, generated jobs and work for local businesses, ranging from mechanics to tool suppliers. It also encourages new industries in the region, such as companies specialising in site safety.
Shell is keen to employ people who live within an hour’s commute of Nyhamna. This encourages them to settle locally, supporting the economy. Nearly all of Shell’s operations staff at Nyhamna live in the immediate area.
Shell has worked closely with businesses in the region, helping them meet the company’s standards and bid for work at Nyhamna.
“Adapting to Shell standards also helps them to win contracts with other companies,” says Andreas Ekker, who heads local job creation for Shell projects in Norway.
Shell also encourages contractor companies working at Nyhamna to hire locally and set up local offices for big projects. Being nearby allows them to respond quickly to changing needs.
The approach brings its own rewards. One example was when an exceptionally long spell of freezing weather brought the plant to a halt in 2011.
“A local supplier was quickly on site with the right equipment to help us solve the situation, instead of having to wait for people outside of the region and remote equipment,” says operations manager Tor Bjerkestrand. “It saved us time and helped resume gas supplies quickly.”