Polish financing for safety research

Poland’s LOTOS oil company is funding a joint project on safety work in the process industry at the Universities of Stavanger and Lodz. Both are members of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU).

Picture of four people at contract signing: Professor Ove Njå, PhD student Kirsti Russell Vastveit, Gerhard Bauer, CEO at LOTOS Exploration & Production Norge AS and Stig Frøysland, Head of HSEQ & HR in LOTOS.

Norwegian oil company Statoil is already contributing NOK 4 million to a parallel project, and the idea will be to carry out a comparative study of the Mongstad and Gdansk refineries.

Recently, a contract signing brought together professor Ove Njå, PhD student Kirsti Russell Vastveit, Gerhard Bauer, chief executive of LOTOS Exploration & Production Norge AS and Stig Frøysland, Head of HSEQ & HR in LOTOS (picture, above). 

“We’re looking forward to this collaboration,” says Gerhard Bauer. “It’s also about tying Norway and Poland more closely together.”

LOTOS is Poland’s largest oil company and operates several refineries. It has had a Stavanger office since 2007, and the research funding is part of its commitment to Norway.

“We’ve initiated the process of becoming an integrated upstream company here,” says Stig Frøysland, who heads health, safety and environmental work at the Norwegian subsidiary.

“We have long-term ambitions at LOTOS for exploration and development on the Norwegian continental shelf.”

“Our safety results are good, but we want to know more about the way two different safety cultures can strengthen each other through collaboration,” Bauer adds.

The research project will be headed at the University of Stavanger (UiS) by professor Ove Njå, a member of the cross-disciplinary team working on risk management and societal safety there.

He has spent many years researching how lessons are learnt from accidents and near misses in industry, the transport sector and elsewhere.

This project represents a continuation of methods and theories which have been developed as a result of his work.

Key PhD
PhD student Kirsti Russell Vastveit will play a key role in the project, and is already well under way with the corresponding project for Statoil.

This involves studying systems, practices and methods for learning from undesirable incidents at the Mongstad refinery near Bergen, which is run by the oil company.

The research in Poland will also be conducted by a professor and a PhD student at the Technical University of Lodz, which signed a collaboration agreement with the UiS on 27 February.

This is the first contract between the UiS and LOTOS, reports Terje Frøiland, head of external relations for the university’s Faculty of Sciences and Technology. “But hopefully not the last,” he adds.