The Ekofisk March

person by the Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Roger Schulstock took the initiative in the spring of 1985 to stage a summer march around the Ekofisk Complex. This required a course of 10 kilometres.
— Ekofiskmarsjen, 1986. Foto: Husmo Foto/Norsk Oljemuseum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

That could be created in the complex, which comprises many installations connected by bridges. The 1985 event attracted 312 participants, who received medals from a popular sports association.

The Ekofisk March proper began the following year. Schulstock and others had made detailed preparations and ordered their own diplomas, badges and medals for everyone who completed the course. This has since become an annual event which calls for a good deal of administration on a voluntary basis, with the motif on medal and badge varying from year to year.

During the first three years, it was taken from the Ekofisk Complex. Since then, it has varied between the other installations on the field. The year is also stated. Bronze, silver and gold medals were awarded for the first three years, replaced by a bronze series involving all the outer platforms. Silver and gold series followed.

Hot dog and juice stations

A positive social framework is important on the marches. Once people start walking, the smiles emerge. Hot dogs and juice are provided at stations around the course. If blisters become too irksome, first aid is available. The march is a little special since everyone must wear a hard hat – but people are allowed to replace protective footwear with other suitable shoes.

The march takes place around 18.30. Several sessions mean everyone has a chance to take part, but completing the whole series may take a couple of months.

The march is staged on all the installations, and how many circuits need to be completed on each platform has been carefully calculated.

March as prize

The Ekofisk mountain walking club is a member of Norway’s mountain walking association, but one requirement for taking part is a job in the Greater Ekofisk Area. However, some exceptions are allowed. Participation was a special prize announced by the association one year for members who deserved special recognition for taking a mountain walk despite a handicap.

The winner, Johannes Bratrud, was blind. He and his wife Karin were flown out to Ekofisk, and his white stick was an unusual sight in an offshore workplace where everyone needs a valid medical certificate. But nobody could spot that he was unable to see when doing the Ekofisk March accompanied by Karen, his wife. The same applied in the evening when a social event with orchestra was staged. He and Karin danced as well as anyone else.

Later, a draw was held for several years for participants in the annual Phillips March in Tananger, with the winners getting an unforgettable trip offshore to do the Ekofisk March.

Income for good causes

T-shirts have been produced with an Ekofisk March motif for sale, with the profits given to good causes. On the 10th anniversary in 1995, NOK 80 000 was donated after a careful assessment to the Salvation Army. Phillips was generous enough to double that amount. Former cross-country skiing champion Oddvar Brå was also specially invited to participate in the march on its 10th anniversary.

Statistics

Peak turnout in some years has been 2 390. Participation has later stabilised at an annual average of about 550.

Other Norwegian offshore installations, including ones on the Oseberg and Statfjord fields, have later followed up with similar arrangements.

The last Ekofisk march was organized in 2015.

Published 4. July 2019   •   Updated 10. October 2019
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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