The issue became literally a red-letter day – for the first time in history, a temporary post office was opened on a North Sea platform through a collaboration between the Stavanger Philately Club and the Post Office.
As reported in the October issue of Status, Statoil’s house journal, there was every reason to feel sorry for the two Post Office clerks sent out to the platform. A postal counter has seldom been so busy.
When it became clear that the unique stamps were to be sold on Statfjord A, calls were quickly heard that the post office had to stay open during the hours of darkness.
That would also give the night shift a chance to buy them on a special first-day cover produced for the platform by the Philately Club. A first-day frank was also specially made for the occasion by Statoil’s information department and designed by Jan Ulriksen.
The request was granted, and the post office opened at 23.00 on 4 October. It was due to stay open for two hours, but the queue quickly lengthened and the clerks could not shut up shop until 03.00. Sales started again at 08.30.
Demand was high and the clerks soon ran out of stamps. A new consignment of 15 000 stamps (5 000 of each value) was sent by helicopter from the Bergen Post Office and arrived around 11.00 – just as the last of the original batch were being sold. Roughly 10 000 of the new lot were sold, and the queue was long throughout the day. Customers waited up to two hours waiting to be served.
This proved a tough stint for the two clerks, who had no time either for meals or for other necessary errands. The office was shut at 15.30, but it took several hours to expedite the queue. A number of people arrived after closing time and became a little irritated when they were turned away.
Nor was the success of the stamp confined to Statfjord A. Stavanger Post Office had never experienced such demand for the issue of any previous stamp. Five million were printed and sold over a five-year period.
The opening of an offshore post office on this special day was regarded as one of the most popular measures taken for the platform workforce. But operator Mobil was the loser, when the stamp sales proved a very expensive affair.
The amount of work done on Statfjord A from the early morning of 5 October was noticeably reduced. Stamps worth NOK 42 000 were sold to the workforce, and 17-18 000 of the unusual first-day covers received the special Statfjord frank.
Status. (1979). nr. 17/79 Spesial frimerkestempling på Statfjord A og 18 /79 Frimerkesuksess på Statfjord A.
Statoil. (1979). 79/2
Haugesunds avis. (1979). 6.oktober. 9000 brev til Statfjord A.