About the “Equinor at 50” project

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum (NPM) has built up a long tradition of documenting fields on Norway’s continental shelf (NCS). Ever since 2002, it has been amassing source materials for some of the country’s most significant offshore fields and communicating their history through dedicated websites. On this site, the museum relates the story of Equinor’s first 50 years to 2022.
By Kristin Øye Gjerde, project leader, Norwegian petroleum museum
- The Industrial Heritage website. Photo: Husmo Foto

Results from the documentation projects for Ekofisk, Frigg, Valhall, Statfjord and Draugen are assembled at www.industriminne.no/en. The museum’s broad experience with this work was an important reason why it was commissioned in 2019 to create a website for Equinor’s 50th anniversary.

Like the other industrial heritage sites, this presentation comprises a large number of articles in both Norwegian and English translation.

To simplify navigation of the site, it has been divided into four main topics: management of and in Equinor, in Norway and the world, technology and the environment, and economy and society. The timeline and the map provide the most visual and intuitive ways to access the site’s content. Via the timeline, you can follow the company’s history from year to year. Taking the map route, you can switch between a map of Norway with click points for Equinor-operated fields, onshore plants and offices, or a world map which allows you to learn more about Equinor’s activities in most of the countries where it is or has been involved.

The articles are linked to a broad range of sources – images, films, audio files, reports and studies. The search function makes it quick and easy to locate the information you are looking for.

Creating the articles

Creating a website like this is a comprehensive job. Work at the NPM began in January 2020.

A project group at the University of Oslo (UiO) led by professor Einar Lie was then already under way on a two-volume history of the company. This rests in part on several master’s theses as well as a PhD project and a post-doctoraral post. Two authors were appointed for the actual books – Eivind Thommassen for the first volume and Marten Boon for the second.

The work done by the students and authors at the UiO has benefitted the authors at the NPM. Since articles for the website were written in parallel with the creation of the history books, the NPM team has also conducted its own research.

This group has comprised curator and geologist Björn Lindberg, senior historian Ole Jone Eide, historian Trude Meland and educator and historian Julia Stangeland, with senior historian Kristin Øye Gjerde as project manager. Several other people have contributed individual articles. All articles published on the Equinor at 50 website are the sole responsibility of the authors and the NPM. Rolf E Gooderham has translated all the articles to English.

Sources and literature

The author team has ploughed through a wealth of literature and source material as input to their articles.

Board minutes have been an important primary source. Since the National Archival Services of Norway has digitised Statoil’s board minutes from 1972 to 1992, these have been available to the team at www.digitalarkivet.no.

Furthermore, the team has secured access at the Iron Mountain records storage facility in Risavika outside Stavanger to board documents and minutes of corporate executive committee meetings up to 2002. For technical and commercial reasons, however, access to the company’s internal archives has been restricted. Some material was nevertheless made available on request.

The National Library of Norway’s www.Bokhylla.no website is an invaluable tool, making it possible to delve into the proceedings of the Storting (parliament) as well as digitised books, magazines and newspapers. Much use has been made of Statoil’s own Status house journal and its quarterly Statoil magazine, which are also available at the National Library.

A great deal has been written about Statoil, ranging from first CEO Arve Johnsen’s memoirs to books by such authors as Bjørn Vidar Lerøen and Håkon Lavik about parts of the story. Statoil occupies an important place in the three-volume Norsk oljehistorie work on Norway’s early oil history, which appeared in the 1990s. Furthermore, a large number of research reports have put Statoil/Equinor under the microscope – to mention just a few of the sources. But relatively little literature covers the company’s overall history for the past 15 years. Boon’s draft chapters for volume 2 of the company history have been a big help here.

Equinor’s own website offers a wealth of material as well. Its annual reports, in particular, are important sources, but investigation reports about its operations have also been utilised.[REMOVE]Fotnote: https://www.equinor.com/no/investors/our-dividend/annual-reports-archive.html. Another source is newspaper reportage and articles, which can provide good pointers on significant events. As Norway’s largest company, Equinor has naturally been given much space in the press over the years.

A complete team

Producing a fully functional website calls for specialist expertise in many areas. Without illustrations, film clips, links, search engine, and a functional and inviting layout, the message would not be properly communicated.

In addition to the authors, the project team comprises two photographers – Shadé Barka Martins and Rune Egenes – responsible for still images and film. Librarian Synnøve Hageberg has made sure that relevant literature is searchable and linked to the articles. Able staff at the National Library have ensured a well-functioning search engine, while web specialist Netpower has structured the site with an attractive and functional design.

Last, but not least, mention must be made of contributions from the general public via social media. These contacts have made the NPM aware of anecdotes, images, films and objects in the possession of private individuals which it would otherwise have been unable to access.

That Norway’s biggest company by far is celebrating its 50th anniversary is an important event in both Norwegian and international industrial and energy history. The museum accordingly hopes that the general public will show a lively interest – not least with the aid of this website.


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