The Impact of Frigg
The use of gas as a fuel was first associated with lighting, and was pioneered by a Scotsman, William Murdock, in the 1790s when working in Cornwall in the south-west of England. The gas was produced by roasting coal in retorts, and its use as a fuel for illumination was first publicly demonstrated in Paris in 1801 by Philippe Lebon, and then in England a year later by Murdock outside Boulton & Watt?s Soho Foundry in Birmingham. Thereafter, gas lighting was widely adopted first in factories, where it was a vital factor in the accelerating industrial revolution, and increasingly on streets, in institutions, and later in private housing.
After a period during the 1970s and 1980s when all attention was concentrated on development, it became clear through the 1990s that a number of North Sea oil and gas installations would have to be decommissioned and removed. These waters moved from being a new petroleum province to becoming a mature one. The biggest discoveries had been made, and further production from some fields began to be unprofitable.
History of unitisation
Unitisation originated in the USA, where the legal position in the late 19th century was that oil belonged to the person who found it rather than to the landowner. This was enshrined in the "rule of capture", which also specified that each producer could recover as much as they were able to. That formed the basis for American petroleum law, but made it difficult for different producers to collaborate over a single reservoir.
The unitisation agreement
"The gas in the Frigg Field Reservoir and the hydrocarbons produced with or from the gas ... shall be exploited as a single unit," specifies Article 1 of the Frigg Treaty.
The Skuld project
Following the discovery of Frigg in 19721, Elf/Petronord found a number of marginal fields in the immediate vicinity of this major gas field. These deposits were regarded by the operator as too small, and thereby unprofitable to develop. For its part, however, the Norwegian government wanted all discoveries to be exploited. The Ministry of Industry and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) urged Elf to consider unconventional production solutions for the satellite fields.
Some rewarding years
The Norwegian share of Frigg yielded about 116 billion cubic metres of gas, worth some NOK 200 billion in 2007 money, from the start of production until its cessation in September 2004. When satellite fields are included, production reached 190 billion cubic metres.
The club system
Elf's club system is unusual. Few companies in Norway offer such a varied range of social activities for employees and their families. As early as 1970, the first French employees in Norway had organised their own club which a small fund, library and film showings. The Norwegian employees were naturally invited to join.
French culture gains a foothold
Stavanger's French-Norwegian Cultural Centre is the only institution of its kind in Norway outside Oslo. It was established to promote cultural and linguistic exchanges between Norway and France through information, education and collaborative cultural activities. The centre contributes to a broad array of art exhibitions, musical events and the like.
French school in Stavanger
The decision was taken in 1972 to locate Statoil and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate in Stavanger, confirming the city's status as the country's oil capital. A number of international oil companies had already established offices there.
The “Infant Frigg” nursery school
The question of a nursery school was first raised in July 1976 by the newly-established staff and management committee
Deliveries to development
French oil company Elf led the development of Frigg, and was accordingly responsible for awarding the required contracts. These assignments were largely split between France, Norway and the UK, but deliveries also came from the USA and other countries.
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