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Oil refineries don’t let visitors get their fingers caught in the machinery. They load visitors into a bus and make a show of gathering up all the visitors’ lighters and matches to be kept safely at the front of the bus, out of firehappy visiting fingers. Visitors are then driven slowly safely around the perimeter of the refinery while marketing phrases are sent from an information consultant’s throat through wires to speakers above each visitor’s seat. Visitors slump further and further down against their seat backs. Visitors consider sleeping but worry they might snore. They entertain their bored fingers by taking photos through the windows, and they press their foreheads to the window, noting the imprint made by skin on glass while considering the magnitude of slicking orange paint onto a tankship that is about to carry half a billion kroners worth of oil to Philadelphia.

Employees at oil refineries learn easily because they feel secure and happy in their jobs, the information consultant announces. The refinery knows the employees feel happy and secure because they say so in yearly employee contentment assessments. The employees feel happy and secure because they feel that Statoil cares about them and appreciates them. They feel that because Statoil regularly spends billions of kroner on new developments. A sulphur-cleanser, for instance, shiny and new, finished a few months ago.

Maybe if the visitors’ employer spent a billion kroner on a new sulphur-cleansing unit in the arts faculty, visitors’ students would feel happier and more secure and so they’d learn more.

Visitors would learn more if they were let out of the bus.

13 thoughts on “visitors

  1. Lilia

    Thanks for making me smiling 🙂

    You never know what happens if they let you out of the bus. At plants I visited we had to wear protective shoes, jackets, helmets, glasses and ear plugs. It’s only 15 minutes watching the machines and 45 to dress on and off :)))

  2. Realist

    Visitors would DIE more if they were let out of the bus. Rembember; people ARE stupid.

    I do understand your point,I really do, but it’s not really worth the risk. Next time you hear someones phone in the cinema, theatre or in a meeting, imagine that this person forgot to not light a fag at the rafinery, it’s bound to happen, and then it’s not grumpy faces and sighing hitting him, it’s millions of liters of gas and Oil exploding, not only killing hundreds of people, but also in a couple of minutes emmitting more CO2 then the wildly discussed powerstations could proudce during the next 200 years.

    Now, I know the chances are slim, but it’s hardly worth the risk anyway. BTW; did you notice the small metal wires sticking up in the middle of the road? They are there to rid any passing wehicle of statical electricity. The collection of lighters is not for show! Althoug the slim chances of an incident, the catastrophic results requires heavy security measures.

    I suspect you already knew this, and I am dissapointed in your “Carl I. Hagen” way of presenting half truths combined with insinuations. From reading the post we all understand you have your panties bunch over the massive wealth flowing trough a system like Statoil. We all know that the point on absolute security vs peoples instability was totally lost on you, and we understand that you got bored out of your mind. The utilisation of the money STATOIL generate for the government is not statoils responsability!

    We know you are a smart girl, and that you probably have reasons for your viewpoints. However, don’t make a mockery of STATOILs security measures. It is among the safest Oil-companies in the world to work for! They have less then one fatal accident every year, compared to one a day troughout the rest of the world. Don’t confuse this with marketing phrases; Statoil has done groundreaking work on risk assesment, security and emergancy-response, setting an international standard that slowly is comming every employed Norwegian and eropean at hand. They are proud of it, and they damn well should be allowed to be!

  3. Mum

    I’m really sorry to hear that you were so bored by and unappreciative of the refinary tour. Sad reading indeed. Areas outside one’s own field of expertise often need an extra bit of effort but can be well worth it.

  4. Thomas

    Nice touch of irony there Jill! Listening to marketing people telling less than half truths are never a great experience. The aestethics of the oil refinery should interest though, where do all the pipes go! Are they all neccesary or are there some engineer who hid a pipe for coffee or something in there like software developers put in easter eggs and other surprises in software?

  5. Elin

    I have to agree that sometimes we’re all better off safe than sorry. There is always the testosteron visitor that just HAVE to show off some balls, is there not. But I suspect the reason for your boredom was not really the bustour it self – maybe you’re just not into oil and corporate thinking? Some topics remain greasy for even the most imaginative thinker. It is all relative, of course. Like your mum says…extra effort is often well worth it. Stress “often”, of course:-)

  6. Elin

    I have to agree that sometimes we’re all better off safe than sorry. There is always the testosteron visitor that just HAVE to show off some balls, is there not. But I suspect the reason for your boredom was not really the bustour it self – maybe you’re just not into oil and corporate thinking? Some topics remain greasy for even the most imaginative thinker. It is all relative, of course. Like your mum says…extra effort is often well worth it. Stress “often”, of course:-)

  7. Jill

    Now, you do realise, of course, that this post is a partial expression of my subjective experience of one hour’s tour of an oil refinery, and not the sum total of my opinions about oil, money, security and Statoil?

    Calm DOWN!

    The excursion was supposed to give us insight into LEARNING and PEDAGOGY outside of lecture halls and it totally failed to do so. That’s probably more our course facilitators fault than Statoil’s. Of *course* security is important, and I honestly think it’s wonderful that Statoil spends a billion kroner on cleaning the sulphur out of oil so that our environment stays healthy. Everything I’ve heard from people who work at and around Statoil supports the assertion that Statoil’s a good place to work, and it’s obvious, isn’t it, that that’s important for being able to learn new things.

    And Mum, you know that as your daughter I’ve got a much more positive impression of the oil industry than anyone’d be likely to get from an hour in a bus.

    Would you all have felt happier if I’d never mentioned Statoil by name?

  8. Elin

    …ughmp!

    Will you torture my voodoo doll too now?
    klem,
    Elin

  9. ningblogger

    This was a strange thread. What is about oil that always raises such tension?

    I wonder.

  10. Elin

    money:-)

  11. Jill

    Perhaps we’re all (us Norwegians) kind of guilty though immensely glad that we’re stinking rich because of luck?

    And Elin, you know I’ll never voodoo-doll YOU! Not even for a duplicate post 🙂

  12. Liz

    Wow. “Panties in a bunch”? “We know you are a smart girl”? That certainly brings the tone of the discussion up a notch or two, doesn’t it?

  13. Jill

    Yes, great rhetoric…

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