Técnicas Reunidas is building Yara's new nitric acid plant at Herøya, and home-hunting in Grenland

Jesús Maria González of Técnicas Reunidas is the finance director for the construction of Yara's new nitric acid plant at Herøya Industripark. He not only has responsibility for delivering a plant that is ready for operation, within budget, in 2017, but must also find 20-25 homes for additional Técnicas colleagues who will soon be arriving.

The first Técnicas project team is ready

The first Técnicas project team is ready: (from the left) Manuel Solorzano (40), planner, Loreto Esteban (29), quality officer, Maria del Mar Folgar Vallejo (38), HSE officer, Jose Fito (34), technical construction, and Jesús Maria González, finance and project administration.

Jesús Maria González and his wife Irene arrived in Porsgrunn in May. With the help of Yara's project administration, they found flats for themselves and for five other project colleagues, who have already moved in.

Soon, Técnicas' project offices will be filled with 20-25 more employees. So right now, the finance and administration director is most occupied with finding out where the new arrivals will be staying for the next one and a half years.

"I need to find 20-25 new homes within a very short time," he says. "Some of them will live here permanently for one and a half years, while others will be here more intermittently."

A lot of things are different

The project officer from Valencia came to Porsgrunn directly from another assignment in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"A lot of things are different compared to both South Africa and Spain, for instance the market for rental homes. It's quite limited here," says González. He has had a lot of help from project team members who are familiar with local conditions and the rental market, but still spends a lot of time surfing finn.no.

A guide for everyday practice

He is also preparing information guides for his colleagues on how life in Norway functions in practice, such as sorting household waste.

"You might think it was the same, but in Spain milk and juice cartons, for example, are classed as plastic waste, rather than paper waste, and in Norway glass bottles with no recycling deposit must be delivered to separate environmental stations, while in Spain the skips are placed just outside the buildings," he explains. As from 1 September, Porsgrunn will start up a sorting system, which is naturally described in the guide.

Kind and helpful

Jesús Maria González in front of the house he has rented in Porsgrunn.

Jesús Maria González in front of the house he has rented in Porsgrunn, and where he had to learn to use a lawn mower for the first time. 

Jesús Maria and his wife Irene are very happy after living in Porsgrunn for three months.

Caption: Jesús Maria González in front of the house he has rented in Porsgrunn, and where he had to learn to use a lawn mower for the first time. 

"We thought that Norwegians were a bit 'reserved' and hard to get to know, but our experience is quite the opposite. We have met some really kind and helpful people," says the Valencian who, for the first time in his life, gained a garden with grass to mow with his lease contract in Porsgrunn. "I had to get my landlord's help to start the lawn mower, which I'd never done before. But It's going really well now," he laughs.

Have you had time to be a tourist, or has it all been work?

"The project work in Yara Bamboo usually starts in Norwegian time, and we end the day in Spanish time, but we still have time to see a bit of the country," smiles González.

Wants to see Grenland, Telemark and Norway

The couple has visited Stavanger, climbed the Pulpit Rock and tasted bacalao (dried and salted cod) in Brevik. González thinks it tasted very much like the dish he remembers from his childhood Easter meals in Spain.

They have visited Heddal stave church and Skien's "cathedral" to admire the ecclesiastical architecture. Irene, his wife, has studied art history, and was very keen to visit a stave church. She has plans to continue her studies here, and would also like to learn Norwegian. 

"Butterflies" about the snow

There is no lack of enthusiasm or plans for living and working in, and visiting, Grenland, Telemark and Norway. The only things they have "butterflies" about are the winter and snow. "I've never driven on snow before, so it will be really exciting," says Jesús Maria González.

The info guide 'Volume II' for Técnicas' project teams should perhaps include some tips and tricks on driving safely in icy conditions? (ed.)