Finnmark – where dreams become reality

Uses her competance

Astrid M. Tugwell, a petroleum engineer, is making good use of her unique competence in her native Finnmark. Astrid is originally from Øksfjord, and moved back to North Norway when the oil company Northern Energy was founded, with her British husband and their three children.

Tugwell graduated as a petroleum engineer in Scotland. After a brief stint at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate in Stavanger, she went abroad to work for Shell. She stayed with Shell for almost 20 years, half the time abroad and half in Stavanger.

- In my first couple of years, I worked on oil rigs, learning my trade from the ground up, which was exactly what I wanted, Tugwell recalls.

In the years that followed, Astrid worked as a reservoir engineer and subsea manager on oil and gas fields across Europe. She was at the Ormen Lange on the Norwegian Møre coast, in the exciting period when the new finds needed to be demarcated and development solutions had to
be found. Tugwell also worked with planning and financing, before starting out as a Development Manager at the Draugen oil fields.

Her work at the Møre fields opened Astrid’s eyes to the importance of strong local ownership of oil and natural gas resources; and when North Norway’s own oil company was established in Alta, she saw her chance to move back. Now she gets to use her competence in a local enterprise with a vision for regional involvement and value creation. She has helped develop a tiny company into one which holds licenses in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea, as well as two operatorships in the Norwegian Sea.

- I’ve learnt so much. Working for a small, fledgling company is both a challenge and an opportunity for growth. It forces you to leave your comfort zone and make yourself useful in contexts that go beyond your specialization. That has forced me to develop my previous knowledge and experience even further. Our company’s engagements place us right at the center of development processes which concern the region’s oil and natural gas sectors. All this has brought new dimensions to my competence that I would not have been able to acquire in, say, a large company in the Stavanger region. I see our present involvements as only the first stage towards realizing our vision for the oil and natural gas industries in the north, Tugwell says.