Statfjord C installedWorkplace survey on Statfjord

Drugs raids

person by Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
A number of drug raids were staged by the Norwegian police on the country’s offshore installations, including Statfjord.
— Police and drug dog leave Statfjord A. Photo: Odd Noreger/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

Workers suspected of using narcotics were arrested and their homes were ransacked while they were on leave.  Frequent checks were also made when personnel were heading offshore. The police claimed to have “clear indications that there is or has been widespread drug-taking on [Statfjord].”[REMOVE]Fotnote: Dagbladet , 28 November 1984. “Narkorazzia ble varslet”.

“We thought Statfjord was free of drugs”. Headline in Rogalands Avis, 29 November 1984.

“Rolling up” this narcotics scene on the field began with the discovery of a small quantity of cannabis on a British operator of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

The police later found 10 grams of cannabis and six doses of LSD in a parcel mailed to another British worker. On that basis, they staged two raids on the Statfjord platforms on 6 and 26 November 1984.

A thorough approach was taken, with sniffer dogs brought out to the field. They were intended to smell their way through the whole platform, but an unexpected obstacle emerged – the dogs were unable to walk on the gratings which form most of the decks on Statfjord A. So the raid was confined to the living quarters, which had normal floors.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Interview with Arne Evensen in Statoil by Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum, 14 June 2010.

These raids, combined with a search of all personnel flying out to Statfjord on 15-16 January 1984, angered the workforce. Many felt themselves pilloried and degraded. Statfjord personnel did not like being treated as suspicious persons, and having their workplace depicted in the mass media as a sanctuary for drugs.

The Norwegian Oil and Petrochemical Workers Union (Nopef) also reacted sharply to the treatment of the workforce. While accepting the necessity of sporadic checks by customs officers, it was negative to the way the police and customs had acted.

In the union’s view, it should be unnecessary to strip-search all travellers or making visible arrests on the basis of suspicions.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Ryggvik, Helge and Marie Smith-Solbakken. Norsk oljehistorie. Blod, svette og olje . Oslo 1997, p 399. During the platform raids, suspects were pilloried in front of their colleagues. In one case, a woman was taken out of the shower. At the Flesland heliport outside Bergen, workers had to strip naked for a body search.

Erna Jensen, chief safety representative on Statfjord. criticised the operations: “We never notice any drug misuse out on the field, and think it’s terribly sad that the public get a regrettable impression of Statfjord when six people are sent ashore in that way,” she told Rogalands Avis after the second raid. “If the police have suspicions about specific individuals, they should arrest them while they’re ashore.”[REMOVE]Fotnote: Rogalands Avis , 29 November 1984. “Vi trodde Statfjord var rent for narkotika”.

During the first raid on the field, 10 people were investigated and three of these were removed to land. Nineteen people were investigated on the second occasion, with six taken ashore to be questioned and released. No narcotics of any kind were found by the police on Statfjord.

To learn more, see: Alcohol and drugs on Statfjord .

Statfjord C installedWorkplace survey on Statfjord
Published December 10, 2019   •   Updated December 12, 2019
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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