Aibel Thailand uses a practical approach to health and safety training to create a safer working environment and help attract new clients
Aibel Thailand uses a practical approach to health and safety training, enhanced by its new HSSE centre, to create a safer working environment and help attract new clients
Aibel Thailand has a reputation for their safety standard, which it xenhanced with the recent opening of a state- of-the-art training centre. The company feels its record in this segment has helped it win recognition from firms around the world. “Aibel has a long tradition for its work in the oil and gas industry,” said Eirik Mork Knudsen, the health, safety, security and environment manager (HSSE) for the company. “We aim for zero incidents as our long term goal, including a high focus on incidents with potential for injury.”
“In our corporate values, worker safety and respect of the environment is paramount. When you demonstrate good HSSE values, it certainly helps to get the attention of new clients.
He indicated he was lucky to be at Aibel during a time when it had the resources available to build a new HSSE training centre. The facility is 572 square metres with one big classroom and seven discipline training rooms for piping and structure including hydro testing, mechanical, electrical work (EIT), rigging, insulation, surface treatment and sand blasting.
The centre opened in March and Aibel Thailand has only had one medical treatment injury at the yard this year — dust in the eye — and no serious incidents.
“I cannot prove our good record is because of the new training centre, but we definitely try our hardest. We investigate every incident we have, even minor ones, to determine how they happened and what we can do to prevent them in the future,” said Mr Mork Knudsen.
“Most of the injuries we’ve had here have been in the first three months of employment. I would say 50-80% of the accidents fall into that category, especially with welders and fitters, which is why we decided to build the training centre. As there is a lot of turnover within these disciplines, it is essential to set the safety expectations for new workers from day one.”
“We work hard on training with the equipment we use, particularly at preventing falling objects. We have a workshop on how to work safely at height. Our training is geared towards more practical, hands-on learning. Safety is not always the most exciting subject for some people, so we try to educate them through demonstration.”
He said that teaching about HSSE is not particularly costly and is in practical terms a requirement, almost a licence to operate in the industry.
“You have to prove you can work in a safe and responsible manner,” said Mr Mork Knudsen. “HSSE not only concerns safety of personnel, but also the health and safety of the external and the working environments.”
Aibel has logged several repeat customers in part because of its stellar HSSE record, he said. A prominent one is Statoil, which turned to Aibel to build the main modular structural frame for one of its oilrigs to be used at its Johan Sverdrup project. Production of the platform is taking place at Aibel’s yard in Laem Chabang.
The Johan Sverdrup order is the biggest in Aibel Thailand’s history, said Mr Mork Knudsen. The company has several other large prospects in the pipeline, so it is not experiencing a slowdown despite the recent drop in oil prices.
Norway is a world leader in electric cars per person, and a concerted and continued government effort over the past 20 years has resulted in some impressive statistics. According to the BBC, Norway is the fourth country in the world to have more than 100.000 electric cars on the roads only topped by the United States, Japan and China, all countries with considerably larger populations. It is also Tesla’s biggest foreign market in terms of units sold.
The country made headlines around the world earlier this year when newspaper Dagens Næringsliv reported that the populist right-wing Fremskrittspartiet, or Progress Party, had agreed to ban sales of all new petrol and diesel-fuelled cars by 2025. While a law has not yet been passed, the stance says something about how far the Norwegian government and population have come in the transition from petrol and dieselfuelled cars to electric ones.
According to information provider IHS, in the first three months of 2016, Norway registered 11,124 pure electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), representing 24.4 percent of all new vehicles. PHEVs combine a conventional gasoline or diesel engine with an electric motor and a rechargeable battery. By comparison with other advanced economies, only 2,244 or 1.8 percent of vehicles newly registered in the Netherlands, Europe’s second-biggest Not just a green conscience
The popularity of electric cars is not solely due to Norwegians’ commitment to the environment. The government has introduced a number of highly effective incentives and subsidies that make the choice to buy an electric car an economic one rather than an environmental one.
For instance, there are no purchase taxes on electric cars and buyers are exempt from the 25 percent VAT on purchase. Furthermore, the annual road tax is low for electric cars and there are no charges on toll roads or the many ferries that support infrastructure in this sparsely populated country. And the list continues: owners of electric cars get free municipal parking, can drive their cars in the bus lanes, get a 50 percent reduction in company car tax and don’t have to pay VAT on leasing.
According to a calculation made by The New York Times, in money terms the incentives mean that at the Møller Bil Ryen Volkswagen dealership in Oslo, a standard diesel Golf retails for about Norwegian Kroner (NOK) 330,000, or
about USD 40,000. After tax breaks, a comparably equipped version of its electric cousin, the e-Golf, sells for NOK 250,000, or just under USD 31,000.
It is all about making electric cars attractive to consumers, says Christina Bu, head of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, which advocates for both consumers and manufacturers. “People aren’t so green that they want to pay a lot extra to buy an electric,” she said in an interview with The New York Times. The Norwegian system works, Bu said, because “it is constructed to make the least-polluting cars the most attractive.”
The incentives have been so effective that Norway met its target of 50,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road three years early, in April 2015. The trouble with charging
Norway’s impressive record of electric car use is all the more significant when considering the country’s unique energy make up. It is Western Europe’s biggest oil producer so success to affordable oil is there. It is also the world’s third largest exporter of natural gas. In other words, Norway is rich enough to subsidise its electric car lifestyle.
What is probably a stronger argument for electric cars than the funds to subsidise, is the fact that Norway gets almost 100 percent of its electricity from renewable and cheap hydro power production, thanks to the country’s many rivers and water ways. That has enabled the country to offer free charging for electric vehicles at the country’s extensive charging station network, which is a further impetus for car owners to switch to an electric car. According to the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, even if all three million cars on the country’s roads were electric, they would suck up just 5-6 percent of the annual hydro power electricity production.
Lessons for Asia Asia is no stranger to electric cars. The world’s most popular electric car is Japanese Nissan’s Leaf, and Japan and China very much drive demand. According to a report released by HSBC Global Research in July this year, electric vehicles could make up 35 percent of new car sales in Asia by 2040, driven by a significant reduction in battery prices and a rapidly changing mindset among consumers, industry and governments. The report said the boom was driven by strong demand in China since Volkswagen’s emission scandal, the launch of the more affordable Tesla model, and a sharp reduction in the cost of lithium-ion batteries, which currently account for 30-40 percent of the price of an electric car.
At a glance, that is great news. However, in relative terms, countries in Asia are still far behind the numbers seen in Norway. And challenges still remain. China is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gasses so a switch to electric cars should be a good thing. However, the reality is not that simple. According to a report from IDTechEx, a market research and business intelligence provider, if Chinese people purchased a large number of plug in electric cars over the next five years it would significantly increase global warming because today most of the power stations in China are inefficient and coal fired.
In addition, the Norwegian model with heavy tax subsidies and other incentives, including an extensive charging station network, is not easily mirrored in a country the size of China. Critics in Norway are already complaining that the number of charging stations cannot keep up with the number of electric cars on the roads and consumers regularly complain about long queues at the stations. These would certainly be issues in less developed countries in Southeast Asia for example.
Another reason that Norway has been so successful in making a large proportion of the population transition from petrol and diesel-fuelled cars to electric ones is a concerted and consistent government effort that has been underway for more than two decades. With many Southeast Asian countries experiencing less stability in their political make up, making and implementing the right long-term decisions may prove more difficult.
PHOTO: AIBEL THAILAND