Most of the workforce has been faced with not being able to attend weddings, christenings or other big days. They are also away from friends and family on public holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Easter and Norway’s Constitution Day on 17 May.
To compensate a little for this, such occasions are celebrated in style – often grandly – both at the Ekofisk Complex and on the outlying platforms.
In good time before the event, the platforms are decorated both inside and out. Food often occupies centre stage at Christmas, and a little extra is put into the meals.
The workforce comes from all parts of Norway, with their separate culinary traditions, and pork ribs, dried mutton ribs and lutefisk (cod treated with lye) are all served. A sumptuous cold buffet is also provided throughout Christmas, so everyone gets their wishes and needs met.
Big events are always staged, with games and entertainment – often provided by the workers themselves, but well-known performers also appear. The chaplain gives a talk and speeches are made.
Despite being far out to sea, the personnel are not forgotten by Santa Claus, and handing out the presents is among the high points of the celebrations.
The cooks also make an extra effort for New Year. A party is held on New Year’s Eve featuring entertainment and games, with bingo as a popular element.
Alcohol is forbidden on all the platforms, but people toast in alcohol-free champagne and the bar serves alcohol-free beer and other drinks.
Constitution Day ranks as an important festival in Norway, and is celebrated appropriately. The Norwegian flag is hoisted at 08.00 and the national anthem sung, followed by a special breakfast before the parade begins.
At the Ekofisk Complex, the parade passes over several platforms and the various disciplines and companies compete over their performance or costumes. The offshore installation manager gives a speech.
A show is staged in the evening, with songs, prizes presented for best performance or costumes, games and entertainment. The bar serves beer and other drinks –alcohol-free as always.
Other public holidays
Celebrations are also staged on other significant days. A carnival is often organised for Leap Year Day, and the catering at Easter can compare with the highest standards.
On calm and sunny evenings during the summer, barbeques are organised on the platforms in the Greater Ekofisk Area.