The Grenland industry is investing – more professionals now required
Investments worth billions and new contracts for industrial enterprises in Grenland are a positive factor for industrial development, industrial jobs and the supplier industry in the region.
Industrial powerhouses Yara Porsgrunn and INEOS are now implementing industrial investments worth around NOK 3.25 billion. INEOS Olefins & Polymers in Bamble has completed its plans for further investments worth NOK 4.2 billion if state guarantees fall into place.
This is a positive aspect for industrial development and supplier industry, which are also winning contracts in new markets,
“When Norwegian industry is able to handle global competition, this places Norway in an excellent position,” says Stein Lier Hansen, Managing Director of Norsk Industri. For Grenland, this statement can be reworded as follows: When the major industrial powerhouses invest and the supplier industry wins new contracts, this places the region in an excellent position.
Industrial investments now on the increase
According to SSB, investments worth NOK 12 billion will be made in the processing industry alone this year. Improved prospects on the export markets and weakening of the Norwegian krone are the reasons for this positive development.
Last year Norwegian industrial enterprises (many of them foreign-owned) made investments worth almost NOK 21 billion, 7.5 per cent more than in the previous year. There was a period before Christmas in which it looked as though industrial investments would decline this year compared with 2014. But then the tide turned. (Source: norskindustri.no)
Grenland Industri is definitely making a contribution to the most optimistic view held by SSB.
Guaranteeing jobs and technological development
At the moment, Yara Porsgrunn is implementing one of the biggest investments in land-based industry. "The biggest mainland investment over the past decade", as Monica Mæland, Minister of Trade and Industry, put it when marking the launch of a project worth NOK 2.25 billion which will provide a new nitric acid plant with reduced NOx emissions and increased fertiliser capacity.
From pessimism to optimism
According to the NAV Telemark corporate survey for 2014, companies’ expectations concerning employment were greatly reduced for 2014, and in line with the financial crisis in 2008/2009. But the tide is about to turn.
Industrial powerhouses Yara, INEOS and Eramet and the Herøya-based supplier companies Bilfinger and Norsk Jernbanedrift are employing and hiring industrial professionals.
Almost 400 people will be needed for Yara’s expansion project. Project manager Jostein Braaten explains that 70 to 80 project staff will be directly involved in the project for 18 months until the launch in 2016. “Requirements will vary throughout the construction period, but we will see a peak of around 300 contract staff in addition to the project team,” he explains. “And local suppliers will be required to help out.”
“The Yara project will help to secure jobs in Porsgrunn first and foremost, but there may be a few new industrial jobs as well,” said plant manager Per Knudsen when the investment was announced last year.
Around 40 skilled workers and engineers for Yara in 2014-15
In 2014, Yara Porsgrunn recruited more than 20 skilled maintenance workers and is expecting to take on 15-20 skilled workers and engineers in 2015. The requirement will continue to grow in years to come.
“The organisation is growing on account of retirements and investments,” says Arne Øygard, HR business partner at Yara. “We have staff with outstanding skills and are now phasing in new ones over a period of high activity in order to achieve more of an overlap. We are keen to maintain control over skills and developing new of good professional environments,” he emphasises.
40 people in new jobs at INEOS
Some 40 operators, engineers and technicians started working for INEOS in 2014-15. Of these, 23 work for Noretyl AS and the rest work for INEOS Norway. “We have employed a lot of people of late, partly because of people retiring, internal reshuffles and insourcing,” explain Jan Petter Bustad, head of HR at Noretyl, and Geir Johnsen of INEOS Norway.
Noretyl is expecting to recruit another four or five people in 2015, while INEOS Norway will be needing six to eight more people a year on average over the next five years in order to cover for people who will be retiring.
At Eramet, a change of generation is also providing job opportunities. “We have no immediate requirement, but slowly but surely we have to replace the people who will be retiring in future,” says Marianne Synnes Kaasa, head of HR. She estimates that the company will be needing two to five people a year to cover primarily technical positions (engineers and people holding certificates of completed apprenticeship).
Supplier industry also needing professionals
The Government’s infrastructure initiative has led to a new upturn for Norsk Jernbanedrift, and for Bilfinger which is now tightening its grip on the railway market. The two Herøya-based industrial companies are adapting to the market and winning contracts, and they will need professionals in future.
Norsk Jernbanedrift has won four major contracts and more than 50 smaller ones over the past year, according to Porsgrunns Dagblad. If this development continues, the company will be able to recruit 15–20 staff by 2017.
70 industrial professionals started work at Bilfinger in 2014
Bilfinger is also recruiting. Varden writes that Telemark’s biggest private company, engineering company Bilfinger, has one primary objective – to find even more people to employ. “With contracts with Yara and Hydro, a third of our order books are full now until 2018,” Director Paul Rune Aasrum told the newspaper. The company is heavy on maintenance in the processing industry and is now investing in infrastructure as well.
New industrial adventure?
At the start of the year, the three most important developers in the region stated that they believe in the potential for a new industrial adventure in Grenland and Telemark. Mona Skaret, Innovasjon Norge’ new director for clusters and growth enterprises, says that established industry and trade are at the heart of the new development of the future restructuring initiative.
“We have always believed in the mainland industry,” says Thor Oscar Bolstad, manager at Herøya Industripark AS and Chairman of NHO Telemark. “The industry and its suppliers have been undergoing continuous restructuring for many years, and this is paying off. By playing on the advantages in the region and using its unique skills, the industry is receiving investment funds in strong competition with other factory locations, and suppliers are winning new contracts and new markets. This is very promising,” emphasises Thor Oscar Bolstad.