I was really looking forward to Saturday, as the plan was to leave at 12 so everyone had some time to explore the town and catch up on some sleep. The weather improved immensely – the sun was shining and the sky turned blue. Everyone was enjoying the sun and the “we are not in a hurry” mood. I had my eye on the National Petroleum Museum – Norsk Oljemuseum, situated just a few meters from our marina. Marcin and I went to explore it, giving ourselves 2 hours, which was not enough!
The discovery of oil on the Norwegian continental shelf at the very end of sixties and the boom of oil industry in Norway in the seventies and eighties completely changed not only the history of this country but the people as well. Creating a museum which would show you every face of oil industry and would not bore with too many details is not easy. Perhaps the success of this place lies simply in making the story personal, trying to show not only how the oil was discovered and what was done to get it out from the depth of the Norwegian Sea, but how the discovery influenced people on a personal level.
The exhibition is interactive, filled with platforms and ships models, showing the actual drills used to extract oil from the sea, with movies exploring what is happening during the extraction, and real people talking about their every day jobs and the life on the platform. You will see the world largest drill – weighting 1 700 kg and measuring 90 cm in diameter, you can go back 4500 years in the past to understand how the oil was formed and why there is so much of it on the Norwegian continental shelf.
You will be able to compare the graphs to check how much and where the oil was discovered, how much was extracted up to now and how much is left. Take a closer look at different drills used to get the oil out from its place several meters under the seabed. Learn about Norway relationship with the sea and how that influenced the development of the oil industry.
Find out about the divers’ life by checking their equipment and various vessels used in deep waters. Read about the most tragic accidents costing lives. Step inside the life capsule which is installed on the platform,
enter the dark labyrinth in the Cat-astrophe Room and feel the stresses faced in a real emergency. Take a ride in the helicopter simulator to see what it feel like being transported from the land to the off shore platform.
Discover the life of the driller, watch the movie showing you the tasks the divers had to face everyday, go to the cinema to see one of the best documentaries about how life has changed for one family during the boom in the oil industry, listen to a mother talking about her family life being constantly interrupted by her frequent disappearance for work on the platform.
For us the most incredible part of the exhibition was watching the documentaries showing real people talking about their everyday struggle as oil rigs workers. How much they missed their family who was left behind, how sudden wealth change their life in a good and in a bad way. Do not give a miss to the “Oil Kid” – a para-document showing the story of one family which fall apart because of the booming oil industry. Meet Thomas – a kid born in 1969, the year the oil was discovered for the first time in Norway, who is sharing his personal story, his fear and pride, longing and happiness he experienced growing up as a son of an off shore worker.
Although the ticket to the museum is not cheap, you have access to it all day, so you can explore it in the morning, go for a meal and then come back in the afternoon for your cinema break! In my opinion – one of the best museum I have ever been to!