Norway’s pioneering offshore platform on the Goliat field in the Arctic was out of operation again last week. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that field operations were disrupted nearly four out of every 10 days last year, but the chief executive of the Italian oil company in charge claims he’s still proud of Goliat.
“We had down-time of 35 to 38 percent, a bit higher than we have on average in start-up years,” Claudio Descalzi of Eni told DN while in Oslo last week to attend the Oil Energy Forum, which was closed to all but invited participants. “But it’s a big project in such a sensitive area. Every time something happens, we shut down production because we’re a responsible operator.”
Descalzi told DN he is nonetheless proud of Goliat and what Eni is doing in the Barents Sea. The job now is to strengthen safety statistics and relations with both Norwegian authorities, while also improving ties with the labour unions that have objected to what they consider hazards on the field.
He claimed great progress is being made and that Eni has increased spending on health, environmental issues and safety by 23 percent in the past three years. “We don’t want any accidents,” Descalzi said. It’s been 17 years since Eni first discovered oil on the Goliat field, and its development has cost nearly NOK 50 billion, roughtly 50 percent more than initially expected. After lengthy delays production finally began last year.
Descalzi said he remains an optimist in the Barents and Eni is trying to find more oil near Goliat to make it more economical. “We’ve clearly had problems with the project, but we produced more than 80,000 barrels a day (in 2016),” he told DN. “That’s not bad.”