Norway to provide assistance to Madagascar

29/05/2007 Over the next five years, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) will be assisting Madagascar in establishing a reliable petroleum management. For Turid Øygard this means that she will soon be moving from Stavanger to Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.

Mrs. Øygards future co-workers. Project manager Gunnar Søiland can be seen in the middle of the crowd

Mrs. Øygards future co-workers. Project manager Gunnar Søiland can be seen in the middle of the crowd

The assistance provided to the Madagascan people will consist of petroleum activities regulation, handling of various petroleum data and mapping of resources. In addition, assistance will be provided to define precisely where the borders of their shelf run, support to purchase computer equipment and assistance in the areas of environmental protection, anti corruption and asset management. The main objective of this contribution is to ensure that the Madagascan people obtain maximum benefit from the petroleum reserves, and it was they who approached the Norwegian authorities with a request for assistance in this matter.

In the agreement signed in early May this year, the NPD is committed to posting one local representative at Madagascar. For the next year, our representative will be Turid Øygard, and she is looking forward to it:

"Madagascar is an exciting country, and this work is so meaningful, that naturally I am looking forward to going. The project is part of the governmental "Oil for development" programme and means we are providing aid in our area of expertise," says Ms Øygard.

She will be boarding her plane in early June and will be joined by her husband and children in a month or so. To start with she will be househunting and familiarizing herself with the work and tasks at hand. Her function will be to act as liaison between the specialists and the governmental bodies of both countries, and for such a project to work well it needs to be well planned. There are many professionals involved and much to learn by both sides, but the Madagascans will head the project themselves through OMNIS (Office des Mines Nationales and Industries Strategique).

Turid Øygard has already visited her new work place together with the OD project manager Gunnar Søiland, and is particularly pleased to be involved so early in the process:

"The petroleum activities in Africa have often been mismanaged disastrously. Getting involved in this process at such an early stage means we may be able to build a foundation for avoiding such conditions at Madagascar," says Ms Øygard.

As a petroleum province the country is relatively unexplored, explains Ms Øygard.

"There are petroleum deposits onshore, and production of heavy oil is commencing this autumn. In addition, a few licenses have been awarded offshore. An important part of the programme will in fact be to map out what might actually be there," says Turid Øygard, who feels this will be a special experience for the whole family:

"My children will have the unique experience of attending an American school, while discovering another country and the local culture. This is also a unique opportunity for me professionally, as I will be the only foreign national in an established organization," she states.

Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean on the south-eastern coast of Africa, and is probably most often mentioned in connection with missionary work. When asked whether she will be doing any evangelizing herself, Øygard replies in the affirmative:

"Yes, I will be preaching the Gospel of Oil!"


Updated: 14/12/2009