The formation of Eurogif constitutes an important advance for European oil and gas contractors and suppliers, in the view of Aker Kværner, providing them with a European organization through which to promote their interests. Previously, national organizations represented the highest level of organization in this sector.
Severin Lindseth, Vice President, Corporate Technology Function, Aker Kværner
The existence of Eurogif is beneficial in a number of ways, according to Severin Lindseth, Aker Kværner's vice president, corporate technology function.
"Traditionally, the oil and gas industry has not been so well organized," says Lindseth. "Eurogif was initiated because the industry needed to ensure that the European Commission included fossil fuels in the Fifth Framework Program for funding and to ensure it had a voice to speak to the commission."
Eurogif provides the industry with a common platform for informing the EC of its research and development needs and arguing the case for funding within the commission's guidelines. Through this body, the industry can also enter into dialogue with the EC on wider policy matters, such as the framework conditions for industry.
In many quarters, the oil and gas industry still has a poor reputation as a producer of polluting fuels. It is therefore all the more important for the industry to have direct access to the EC and other European Union bodies to dispel misleading impressions and provide up-to-date information on its commitment to operating in ways that are acceptable environmentally and otherwise.
For Aker Kværner and other Nor-wegian companies, there is another reason access to the commission is important. Although Norway is not a member of the European Union, it is subject to much EU legislation through the European Economic Agreement, though it has no direct participation in framing such legislation. Norwegian concerns can, however, be raised in Eurogif and other forums. The appropriate body for raising such concerns is the Federation of Norwegian Manufacturing Industries (TBL), which is a member of Eurogif. Aker Kværner is a member of TBL.
The company also gains from networking with other companies active in Eurogif, which represents the majority of leading contractors and suppliers in the European oil and gas industry. While allowing companies to get to know each other better, networking can also open the way to commercial opportunities and – even though companies are normally competitors when it comes to pursuing contracts – can be useful in identifying potential partners for particular assignments, Lindseth says.
Aker Kværner is active in three of the four Eurogif networks that have so far received EC funding. It is coordinator of network No. 3 on floating structures technology and a partner in networks No. 1 on quality, health, safety, and the environment and No. 7 on gas chain optimization. It is also in a coordinator role for network No. 4 on subsea and downhole processing, for which funding has yet to be approved by the commission.
These themes reflect important areas of Aker Kværner's expertise. It has a long track record in designing various types of floaters, including units with a gas-to-liquid processing capability. A leading supplier of subsea equipment, it has also developed systems for subsea pumping and processing. Protection of human life, material assets, and the environment are key priorities for the company, says Lindseth.