Environmental groups and some oil industry executives have raised objections to the recent dismissal of Rolf Wiborg, a veteran worker in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD). Some call him a whistleblower, while NPD claims Wiborg was fired for dereliction of duties.
Wiborg was notified in May that he was in danger of losing his job. Last week he told magazine Teknisk Ukeblad that he’d been told to pack his things and leave his office within four hours.
Wiborg, who began his oil industry career at Statoil in 1975 and also has served as a high-ranking official at Phillips Petroleum Norge, had earlier warned the state Auditor General (Riksrevisjonen) of what he considered close ties between state officials and Statoil. He believes there was an “unhealthy blend of roles” between Statoil and the state, but NPD officials deny his contact with the state auditors has anything to do with his firing.
“Wiborg was dismissed in accordance with the law because of dereliction of duty and improper conduct in or outside of his employment,” a spokesman for NPD told news bureau NTB.
Frederic Hauge of environmental group Bellona, told website E24 that it “will now be difficult for critical voices to be raised against the leadership of the directorate,” while a former information chief at Statoil, Hogne Hongset, called Wiborg “an experienced and knowledgeable person. When he gets fired after he’s blown the whistle, it seems suspicious.”