Women Who Shine: Q&A with Margareth Ovrum

Rigzone: You were the company’s first female platform manager on Gullfaks – how was that experience? And what’s the biggest lesson you learned during that time?

Ovrum: Before taking on the position of platform manager, I did a rotation in various positions on a number of platforms. I worked in well operations, drilling and production. And for a period, I also had the position of being the production and maintenance manager on the Gullfaks A platform in the North Sea.

In addition to Statoil installations, I was also seconded to Royal Dutch Shell plc, Total S.A. (Elf at that time) and Exxon Mobil, on some of their platforms. By doing this, I was exposed to and learned about various disciplines and platforms.

I also worked in various positions onshore prior to, and in between the offshore positions. Thus, taking on the platform manager role wasn’t that scary for me as I was quite familiar with both the atmosphere and the tasks. In Statoil I was, at that time, also the youngest to become a platform manager. Because I never planned my career, I was open to change, and looking back, I know that my manager was brave when he chose to promote me for that position.

Also, I like challenges and never decline to take them on, and at the time of my promotion, I was very excited when I was asked to take the offshore role. To me it was, and still is, vital to gain respect and trust through demonstrating my attitude, competence and leadership.

For example, the company experienced a gas leak while I was platform manager on Gullfaks A, which is a situation that is regarded and treated as high risk because of its severity. This happened during a period when too many undesirable incidents were occurring and garnering a lot of media attention, with many critical voices both from inside and outside the company. I was asked to represent Statoil at a press conference to explain the situation and I felt very alone. As if I was carrying the image of the company on my shoulders.

But what pulled me through that situation was experience. I had witnessed first-hand how my team and the rest of the employees within our organization’s training made us handle the gas leak situation and very quickly regain control. The gas leak, of course, was undesirable, but overall it was a very valuable and strengthening experience. I strongly believe in Statoil's ability to both identify and handle risk.


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