Investing in Arctic Russia’s future

Monday, January 26, 2009
“Maybe I will go and study in Norway,” said smiling Murmansk student Victor Boyazitov, 16. Can he imagine a career in the offshore industry? “Oh yes. That’d be nice!”

Russian and Norwegian dignitaries, students and journalists turned out this week for education grant awards and cooperation signing ceremonies between StatoilHydro and schools in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk.

“This is a very important occasion for north-west Russia and StatoilHydro. We’re signing agreements to train local students for opportunities in the region’s emerging oil and gas industry,” said signatory Bengt-Lie Hansen, StatoilHydro president Russia.

He was joined by Lyceum no.6 vocational school principal Grigory Shatilo in Murmansk and ASTU director Alexander Nevzorov in Arkhangelsk. Also present were Norway’s deputy foreign minister Elisabeth Walaas, Murmansk regional governor Yuri Evdokimov and Arkhangelsk vice-governor Elena Kudryashova.

Mr. Lie Hansen handed out grants to 10 welding and machine operator students and two teachers at Lyceum no. 6, which has a total of some 1,000 students, and about 85 in the welding and machine operator courses. Most of the students are between the ages of 15 and 18.  About one-third of the welding and machine operator students have grown up in orphanages, and most of the others come from homes run by single mothers. The students at ASTU are slightly older and more academically advanced.

“Russia’s offshore technologies are not yet developed and we need cooperation with technologically advanced companies,” said Kirill Izmikov, 20, a 2008 grant recipient and summer intern at StatoilHydro’s R&D centre in Porsgrunn last year.

“These programs are not only important for north-west Russia and the schools, but for StatoilHydro’s efforts to be an Arctic champion!” said Mr Lie Hansen. “A cooperation between people means that you believe in an idea. We believe in you and I hope you believe in us. Together, we can make a difference.”

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