A clean sweep
First established as Nord-Norsk Tankrens AS in 1974, NordMiljø began in Mo i Rana, Norway, with a single vacuum-tanker truck, its sole purpose the emptying of septic tanks in the region.
In 1988, the company obtained a licence for the collection and temporary storage of hazardous waste. In 1997 it opened its first branch office in Sandnessjøen and acquired a tank park in Åga for the treatment and storage of waste oil. The park was converted from a storage area for petrol and diesel to a waste oil handling plant, capable of collecting and treating waste oil from the whole region of northern Norway.
In 2000 the company achieved success with its tender for the world’s northernmost waste contract, and for a six-year period it provided waste treatment services to the island community of Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen. More recently, the business received a nomination for Company of the Year 2008 at the Galleriet Industrial Awards, eventually finishing as runner up.
A 2002 merger with Jacobsen Transport, brought about the decision to change the company’s name from Nord-Norsk Tankrens, which was no longer felt to accurately represent the company’s diverse service offering, to NordMiljø. Aidan O’Keeffe, director of the offshore department within NordMiljø, describes the company’s recent progression: “Today, we serve all the major oil companies, which are drilling and prospecting off the coast of the Arctic Circle. To begin with we collected waste quayside, and repackaged and sent it for treatment elsewhere. We’ve now developed our own treatment plant for drill cuttings and waste oil, and we’re also looking at methods of treating wastewater and slops that come in from the offshore industry. We want to create as much local activity as we can; as our policy states, we always try and use local companies and local subcontractors where possible.”
The company’s location in Mo i Rana, in northern Norway, presents it with a unique advantage, as it is the only waste company in the region with such diverse capabilities. Aidan elaborates: “We have managed to increase our size quite considerably since 1997, growing from a team of 12 to 50. We have very good leadership and we made good money in the first part of this decade, which has all been re-invested in vehicles, offices and additional staff. Our strengths are our focus on trying to create local values and our ability to treat waste locally rather than sending it off to the bigger plants in the south of Norway.
“Our success has been supported by the green movement, insofar as many companies are now showing an increasing interest in what happens to the waste that we collect from them. Our customers, which include oil companies and local industry providers, can follow the downstreaming process of the waste. We also produce tailor made reports that accurately outline the volume of waste and what becomes of it. This service gives us an edge over our rivals.”
Having successfully responded to the rapid developments taking place within the waste management business, NordMiljø has been able to increase its share of the market. Offering total solutions for the collection of all waste types, video inspection and pipeline flushing, ultrasonic inspection of tank-casings, high-pressure cleaning of pipes, drains and sewers, as well as the emptying of septic tanks, container and portable toilet rentals, NordMiljø’s market area covers the whole of northern Norway.
Aidan outlines the company’s current contracts and its vision for the future: “We have an ongoing project with Baker Hughes, for which we bought a centrifuge to treat the drill cuttings that come in. We also have a pilot project going with local tarmacing companies to see if they can use one of the substances generated by the centrifuge in the production of tarmac and asphalt. We’re also looking at ways of treating liquid waste instead of sending it down to the South. It’s a very interesting project and we see real potential to handle it locally.
“We’re already part owned by SAR, which has been great for us, as we now have access to many more national contracts, looking after their local sectors. I’d like to see us expand within the North and establish a base up in Hammerfest, where the Snøhvit gas fields are now in production for Statoil. Having previously held the world’s northern most waste contract, we’re geared to compete again to work in Longyearbyen, when it comes up once more in 2010.
“Moving forward we want primarily to increase our offshore capabilities; although the local towns aren’t going to get any bigger, the exploration of the coast here is only just beginning. There are a lot of resources out there and we need to be ready to handle the waste when it comes in, so that we can compete for these contracts and let the major companies know that we’re here and we have a diverse range of capabilities.”
Services Waste management