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summer2009issue211

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“What I really want you to capture is the great contrast that exists here,” said Aasmund Erlandsen, Norway Division Managing Director, during our first meeting at Transocean’s office in Stavanger. He was talking about Stavanger itself – the gorgeous result of blending city and countryside, mountains and sea, contemporary and traditional, business and pleasure, which make the city and its surroundings one of the most picturesque areas in the world. But what we found was that this great contrast was not limited to the landscape – it extended into many areas of Transocean’s operation and people here. So,armed with world-class photographer (and excellent travel buddy) Ken Childress, we set out to capture some of this in Beacon. One thing’s for certain: the Norway team is a picture-perfect example of doing what it takes to stand out from the competition and achieve Transocean’s vision.

 

Norway: A Study in Contrasts

Warm and Cold

Let’s start with the basics about Norway: the climate.

When you’re coming to visit Stavanger from Houston, the first thing you feel is the dramatic drop in temperature. But that’s followed immediately by a much different feeling: extreme warmth. In fact, the warmth and friendliness of the Norwegian people is so pronounced, that if it were measured in degrees and added to the thermometer, Norway likely would be far hotter than a summer day back in Texas.

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Caroline Hnatow has worked as a Roustabout on the Transocean Leader for the past two years. Her father, brother and uncle work offshore as well. “She’s a really good roustie,” said Assistant Driller Hans Myskja, who has mentored her and her colleagues along the way. “Now, it’s possible for more females to physically be able to perform a Roughneck’s duties, because it’s not so manual anymore.”

Warm personalities aside, there are many innovative solutions developed by the Transocean team to combat the cold and work year-round despite the very harsh environment. There’s nowhere that brings this to life better than offshore on the Polar Pioneer, one of the company’s first rigs built to withstand sub-zero temperatures, 100-foot waves and 84-knot winds.

The Polar Pioneer looks a lot like any other semisubmersible rig, except everything – pipe deck, riser deck, casing deck, the lifeboat equipment – is enclosed. Only the cargo deck is open. All systems come with steam heating and heat tracing, said OIM Alf Mosnes. Even the handrails are heated (and some of the rigs come complete with saunas and solariums for the comfort of those onboard between their shifts!).

All of this comes in handy during the winter, and especially when the rig works in the Barents Sea far to the north where temperatures are low, but demand for work from the rig is regularly high. The Pioneer has been there for several months, working approximately 70 miles north of Hammerfest.

“When you’re up north and it’s snowing, it’s so good to have the rig covered in,” said Åge Petter Nilsen, Sr. Toolpusher. “It’s a better environment for the people working here. It’s good to be inside.”

Now and Then

For the Transocean team in Norway, some things never change. The name “Transocean,” for instance, originates with the Norwegian team and is a steady reminder of their important place in our company’s history (see page 47 for more info). A commitment to innovation and excellence is a longstanding tradition here (see “Way to GO, Norway” on page 48), as is a culture of teamwork (incidentally, Norwegians have a similar tradition called “dugnad,” which is the practice of coming together as a community to complete a task for the common good … sound familiar?).

But for a team committed to continuous improvement, some things always change. Take safety. Consistent changes and improvements have led to a much stricter and more structured set of safety procedures, which might have prevented Polar Pioneer Sr. Toolpusher Åge Petter Nilsen from getting pitched overboard from the Transocean Seeker and chased by sharks back in 1977 (it was scary, he said, but he wasn’t bitten).

“You could do it more ‘your way’ then, and now it’s very detailed and based on a set program,” Åge said. “If today’s safety procedures and plans and protocols would have been followed back on the Seeker, I never would have had the experience with the sharks.”

Eva Lysvold, a Transocean employee for 24 years and Medic on the Polar Pioneer, also remembers life offshore being very different than it is today.

“When I came on the rig for the first time, the nurse met me on the helideck, handed me a key and said, ‘have a good time,’” she recalled. “I had never been on a rig, I didn’t know where anything was, I had a key in my hand to open the hospital door and that was it. I had to figure out everything. Nobody could do that today. If we have a new nurse now, we spend a week with them first to ensure they know where everything is.”

It’s these kinds of changes that have led to obvious safety improvements in Norway over the years – improvements that are noticed and appreciated by our customers, and have led the Norway team to be recognized for the best safety performance in the company two years running.

 

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ThisMonthsIssue

Viewpoint
A message from CEO Steven Newman

Features
Norway: Portraits of Success

11th Annual FIRST Excellence Award Recipients

2010 Photo Contest Winners

Macondo Update

Measuring Our Success
INBOX: Letters from our customers

Achievements and Milestones

Safety Snapshot

Employee Communications Survey Results

Around Rig
Transocean Unveils New Vision, 2011 Focus Areas

Deepwater Champion Debuts in Turkey

Introducing “People Focus: Face 2 Face” Offshore Training Program

Deepwater Frontier Drills First-Ever Offshore Well in Timor Leste

Addressing Deepwater Challenges with CAPM

Transocean Introduces Code of Integrity

Cairo Employee Gihan Awwad Wins Rig Naming Contest

News Briefs -- New Digs in Angola
Rig Upgrade Snapshot: M.G. Hulme
Alex Illah Named Chairman of Nigeria IADC Chapter
Discoverer India Begins Contract with Reliance Industries
Transocean Expands Corporate Card Program
Recruiting Efforts Score New Talent in SAM Division
HR Hosts Open House in Houston
“World Cup” Trophy Drives Performance Culture in SAM

Responsibility
TO Employees Join the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Aberdeen Employees Raise Money for Cancer Research

Transocean Leader and JW McLean Join Forces to Raise Donations for Sick Co-Worker

Sedco Express Donates to Angola Orphanage

DEN Captain Joins Effort to Drill Water Well in Guatemala

Transocean Employees Participate in Deepwater Horizon Fundraiser

Grand Banks Raises Money for Cancer Organization

Transocean Prospect Raises Pounds for Charity by Dropping Pounds Offshore

Piperdam Employee Event Brings Together North Sea Team, Benefits Charities

Transocean John Shaw Raises Money for FACE

Transocean Donates Computer Equipment to Public Library in Africa

Rig People
Spotlight On: Tony Noriega

Service Anniversaries and Other Events

Editor’s Note

Pat on the Back

Vision in Practice

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Copyright © 2009 Transocean LTD.

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