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Flood of applications for new oil companyThe German company Wintershall has received more than 1800 applications for only 90 avaliable positions now that it is establishing itself in Bergen.

The telephone began to ring as soon as the announcement was made last October that Wintershall had assumed operational responsibility for the Brage field and would be establishing itself in Bergen. When, last week, the company launched a recruitment campaign, more than 1800 applications flooded in during just a few days.

“The campaign took right off!”, says Operations Director Alv Bjørn Solheim.

Last year, Wintershall and Statoil completed a comprehensive licence trade which, among other things, involved Wintershall assuming responsibility at the end of this year for operation of the Brage field located due west of Bergen.

A total of 158 Statoil employees, working both onshore and offshore, were offered the chance to transfer to Wintershall, and about 100 said yes.

The company is now looking for about 100 new personnel – 80 of them linked to the Brage field and its operations office in Bergen. Fifty of the positions will be offshore and 30 onshore. The offshore jobs have received 1450 applications, and the onshore positions 350.

Looking locally

The company is now looking for office premises with space for between 50 and 100 persons in the Sandsli/Kokstad/Blomsterdalen area.

“I’m sure we’ll be recruiting many skilled people”, says Solheim.

According to Solheim, once Wintershall had assumed responsibility for Brage, it had to be located in Bergen.

“We are currently in Stavanger, a city with an extremely tight jobs market. It is vital to us to get people from Statoil (who are familiar with the Brage field, Editor’s note). These people are in Bergen today, and we had to set up in Bergen to stand any chance of keeping them”, says Solheim.

Job seekers’ magnet

Next to Statoil, Wintershall is the first major oil company to establish its operations organisation in Bergen since Statoil bought out Hydro in 2007. Managing Director Morten Leikvoll at the engineering and consultancy firm Head Energy is convinced that the German oil company will be a magnet for both job applications and the oil and gas supplier industry in the Bergen area.

“A company such as this will attract people to it. The oil companies are sitting at the top of the food chain, both in terms of the salaries they offer, and general attractiveness”, says Leikvoll.

Easier for suppliers

Leikvoll contracts out engineers to the oil industry in both Stavanger and Bergen. He estimates that engineers in the oil industry in Stavanger are earning about 10 to 15 per cent more than their colleagues in Bergen. Among other things, this is because there are far more oil companies in Stavanger than in Bergen.

“This type of company will help boost the competition”, says Leikvoll.

Industries and service providers which supply goods and services to the oil companies have also noticed that Bergen will be hosting a new oil company.

“Very many of them are calling us and offering a presentation”, says Solheim.

“This is very, very good news for the oil and gas community”, says Trond Olsen, CEO at NCE Subsea, a subsea technology industry cluster.

He believes that both equipment manufacturers and service providers to the oil industry will benefit from having a new oil company in Bergen.

“Geographical closeness generates a feeling of security and promotes visibility. It provides greater opportunities for companies to position themselves as suppliers”, says Olsen.

Facts Wintershall

-German oil company, owned by the listed German chemical group BASF.

-2000 employees, of which approx. 270 in Norway, and plans to increase this number to 500 during 2013.

-Completed a comprehensive offshore licence trade with Statoil last year. Among other things, Wintershall took over Statoil’s stake in the Brage field, and will assume responsibility for operations this autumn.

Source: Bergens Tidende, March 25, 2013

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