Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to be Split

Last week, a majority of the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) approved the Government's proposal to split off the part of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate that deals with safety and working environment into a separate supervisory body - the Petroleum Inspectorate. The new supervisory body will be in operation from January 1, 2004.

The resource section of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate will continue its work as a directorate reporting to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE), while the newly established Petroleum Inspectorate will report to the Ministry of Labor and Government Administration (AAD).

The reorganization of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate is part of the scheme outlined in Storting White Paper No. 17 on government supervision.

Both the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the Petroleum Inspectorate will continue to have offices located in the same building at Ullandhaug in Stavanger, as is the case today.

The Supervision White Paper emphasized that the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has an organization of highly-specialized staff whose work integrates both safety and resource issues.

"If the Directorate is split, it would be inexpedient for the organization to develop redundant expertise. The two organizations must be able to draw on each other's expertise, but without compromising the consideration of good order and clarity of roles. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Ministry of Labor and Government Administration have initiated work to study how this can best be accomplished."

"The process of implementing this division has already come a long way. The work under the direction of the division task force, which includes representatives of both the MPE, AAD and NPD, will continue in accordance with the plans that have been laid. A key goal is to facilitate the best possible cooperation between the two institutions, and we are placing great emphasis on including the employees in this process," says the NPD's Director General Gunnar Berge.

A decision as to which of the two organizations the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's employees will be assigned to will be made in the course of the fall.

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