Our goal with this series of articles is to introduce SAR's departments, spanning from Hammerfest in the north to Stavanger in the south. We aim to present the unique features and characteristics of each department, and how our collaborative efforts enable our customers to create value from their waste. Here comes article no. 2 in this series.
Nearness to the sea - The opportunities and responsibilities
In a weathered island kingdom In Nordland county, on the coast of Helgeland, lies Sandnessjøen. A port city with a lot of traffic, both by land and water. In addition to well boats, offshore vessels and fishing boats, the well-known and beloved ship Hurtigruten also passes by regularly. SAR Sandnessjøen has the only treatment facility (TCC) for drill cuttings (kaks) in this area. Both slop and cuttings from the oil and gas production in the North Sea are received here. The plant in Sandnessjøen processes tens of thousands of tonnes annually, but they are not alone. Capacity is distributed between other SAR facilities if necessary. As at the other SAR facilities, waste is handled, pre-treated and forwarded for further treatment and downstream solutions (final treatment). The aim is always to find good sustainable solutions for all the different waste types and categories. In 2022, approx. 14,000 tonnes of waste was received at SAR Sandnesjøen, with even larger quantities expected in 2023!
In Sandnessjøen there are many activities related to the maritime and offshore. What all the different actors have in common is that they have waste that must be handled and processed responsibly and sustainably. Here, the people and industry live close to the sea and have done so for many generations. The will and interest of thinking about environmental protection, and taking care of the great resource the sea represents, is anchored securely in the local population.
Diverse business - Diverse environmental services
In addition to ad-hoc tasks with waste from private households, SAR Sandnessjøen is involved in most types of waste from local and public business activities. Sandnessjøen and the surrounding islands are central to our department here. In Sandnessjøen, the oil industry is a major player, but there are also many other exciting local businesses. Examples are construction companies, shops, as well as boats from aquaculture and the fishing industry. Every company, regardless of size and field, require different environmental services. SAR assists in both large and small projects - always with the aim of carrying out safe and environmentally friendly waste management on our customer's behalf.
Drill Cuttings (kaks): is waste material consisting of rock cuttings that are drilled out from boreholes and are contaminated with drilling fluids used in drilling operations. SAR recovers oil from Kaks, which can be reused.
Slop: is a mixture of residual drilling fluids, chemicals, wash water, and other liquids generated during drilling.
TCC: TCC (Thermomechanical Cuttings Cleaner) is one of the most commonly used thermal desorption techniques for treating drill cuttings.
All businesses, whether it's the hairdresser on the corner or companies within the construction industry, have different needs. At SAR Sandnessjøen, every inquiry is dealt with according to best practice. For example, SAR picks up industrial/hazardous waste collected by various shops. It may be batteries and fluorescent light tubes that require proper treatment to protect nature, people and the environment.
From fisheries and aquaculture, boats arrive with sludge, fish feed, plastic and residual waste. Just below the SAR facility, there is talk of filling in a larger area down towards the sea, with possibilities for land-based aquaculture. There are also high expectations for future plans for offshore wind farms. With major players in the area, such as Equinor, Aker BP, Aker Solution, Asco, Slipen Mekaniske and LetSea, there is a lot of exciting things happening.
Treatment of Kaks/Cuttings, which takes place at the TCC plant (Thermomechanical Cuttings Cleaner), can vary greatly in scope. Sometimes the facility has "downtime" based on the level of activity in the area. In the event of such planned downtime, crews are sent up to Hammerfest and treatment are be carried out there.
The value of good networks
There is a lot of logistics and interaction between SAR Sandnessjøen, other SAR departments and not least the head office in Stavanger. Good communication and logistics have always been central to the SAR Group, and it is a well-established and coordinated machinery. Cooperation is needed to ensure the most sustainable transport of waste sent southward.
As elsewhere in SAR, the employees in Sandnessjøen are keen to follow the company's vision and values. This means that the waste must be treated as a valuable resource. In order to achieve with this, the customers are our most important partners. It's all about extending the life cycle, up-cycling, recycling, or returning to nature.
An island gem of outdoor life and tourism
In Alstahaug municipality, where Sandnessjøen is located, there are around 7,400 residents. But this is, as I said, an island kingdom. Several municipalities are scattered around, just a car- or boat trip away. In addition to the aforementioned industries, you will find here some of Norway's most beautiful tourist destinations. Surrounded by sea and mountains, as well as many smaller islands, this is a popular area to explore by island-hopping and safaris. Many also come here to hike The Seven Sisters mountain range (De Syv søstre).
There is a bustling boat life, as many have cabins on the surrounding islands where boat is the only means of transport. Some also use boat as an alternative to cabin life. Here, there is clearly a close and valuable link to nature and the sea.
Small department – important partner
Since 2013, SAR Sandnessjøen has been established in its current premises on the island. There has been a base here for approx. 30 years, first at Holmen, a short drive away. It started as NordMiljø AS, which was merged with SAR Gruppen in 2013. With 15 employees, where 4 of which are in administrative positions, SAR Sandnessjøen is the smallest of our departments. This still means versatile activity. As previously mentioned, there is close cooperation between Sandnessjøen and the other SAR departments along our coast.
The department's size has a big and positive impact on the working environment, which the employees describe as close and family-like. It's a small group, who put a lot of effort and personality into the work they do.
Diverse expertise and flexibility benefits customers
In this department, most employees know "the whole flow" and with such a small team in place, it provides a versatile workday. Administration takes care of a wide range of tasks, from receiving inquiries and orders to invoicing and reporting. Short lines of communication make the workflow efficient, both internally and outwards to our customers. Operators and drivers also perform tasks with a lot of variety. A driver can, for example, drive and operate both a hook truck, a container truck and a compactor truck. Those who drive vacuum trucks also drive container trucks. This creates great flexibility and the opportunity for rapid "mobilization", for both Sandnessjøen and other departments that may need support.
"The weather is often a challenge. In winter, it often happens that containers and tanks are completely frozen, and this makes emptying the waste more difficult. But it creates an educational and varied working day, which, together with a close-knit social environment, is the best part of the job." - Tom Andreassen, FA operator.
The activity and size of the operation at SAR Sandnessjøen has long followed the oil industry, and the fluctuations in activities there. Mobile oil platforms, or "rigs", come and go, which affects the type of work tasks. Supply boats from the Norne ship rig, Skarv and Aasta Hansteen have weekly visits.
Cooperation at all sides
There is good cooperation with other actors in the region. Are there problems with a car, or should it not be available due to service, you can borrow/rent a car if needed. It is a security that strengthens our ability to deliver.
"In Sandnessjøen, we do a bit of "car sharing" or other help if needed. E.g. loaning a compactor truck with a local operator, as we only have a periodic need for such specialty vehicles." - Henriette Neergaard, admin. Employee.
From the left, Anita Nilsen og Henriette Neergaard in the administration.
Helgeland harbor is also a key partner. They accept containers of waste from larger ships and boats, from industry, coastguard, the navy, and civilians, who only come in at night and need to get rid of their waste. Early in the morning, waste containers are ready for collection by SAR.
SAR - Your partner in waste management services
At SAR, we are proud of the responsibility we take for our customers, the local community, and our partners. We hope that our travel blog has provided some extra insight into our operations at SAR Sandnessjøen.
New and existing customers are welcome to contact us if you have any questions or wish to use our services.
Together, we will find the best solutions: Greener and Safer!
The previous stop on our journey was Hammerfest. Next time, we're heading to Kristiansund, so sign up for our newsletter to catch our entire journey.