Ellingsen was no newcomer to the oil industry when she joined Frigg. She started in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s safety department in 1976, and was the first woman to be sent offshore on an inspection assignment. She came to Elf in 1980 as section manager for certification in the safety and inspection division.
The following year, Ellingsen moved to Paris to prepare the kick-off for the Heimdal development, and remained there until she was sent to the Lacq field in southern France in January 1982 as part of her training for the OIM job. She became a production engineer on CDP1 and DP2 in June 1982 before starting as OIM. She stayed in that post until 1984, when she became responsible for completion of the Heimdal platform.
French culture was very focused on professional expertise and technology. Knowledge was what counted, not gender. This attitude was a key reason why Elf was the first company to appoint a female OIM.
After Ellingsen, women gained entry into most offshore professions. But this industry remains male dominated. Only seven per cent of employees on Frigg in 1985 were women. The proportion for the NCS as a whole was five per cent. By 2005, that figure had risen to 10-12 per cent.
Elf made considerable efforts to increase the number of women offshore. It established scholarship schemes which gave priority to female applicants, and women were encouraged to seek offshore work. They were seen as painstaking, conscientious and responsible. But men continued to account for the bulk of personnel on Frigg. Most of the women who went offshore worked in catering, where the jobs were the worst paid.TCP2 extension projectOdin installed