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Interrogation regarding cracks in the Kielland rig

New information regarding the Kielland case surfaced in 1981.
Written by Norwegian Petroleum Museum
- Alexander L. Kielland i Gandsfjorden klar for første snuforsøk. Mannen som står på en av riggens flyteelement nederst på beina, viser dimensjonen. Foto: Børre Børretzen/Norsk Oljemuseum

In 1981, new information emerged in the case of the Alexander L. Kielland accident. Speech therapist Georg Egenberg informed the police that he had spoken with Platform manager Torstein Sæd a few days before the accident when the latter accompanied his daughter for treatment. The platform manager, who died in the accident, allegedly expressed concern about the rig’s condition and mentioned discovering cracks in the underwater braces. He reportedly attempted to have these repaired. 

The police conducted a series of interrogations to follow up on the claim. Sverre Bjørn Nielsen (chairman of the Board of Stavanger Drilling), representing the rig’s owners, was among those interrogated by the police. He stated that he was unaware of the claim regarding cracks in the Kielland. He had only heard about this through media coverage. 

View the interrogation here: Scanned material: Pa 1503 – Stavanger Drilling AS, SAST/A-101906/Da/L0001: Alexander L. Kielland – Begrensningssak Stavanger byrett, 1986, p. 140 – Scanned archives – National Archives ( 

The police also interrogated several of Sæd’s colleagues. One of them was Birger Evanger, who was also a close friend of the platform manager. He confirmed that Sæd had expressed concerns about the rig’s condition in private conversations, particularly regarding stresses due to the way the rig was anchored, which he believed could become excessive over time. He was also worried that the rig had become top-heavy after the accommodation modules were installed. Evanger claimed that Sæd had sent letters of concern to the shipping company regarding these issues, but he had never heard Sæd mention he had found cracks. 

Einar Rønneberg and Sverre Karl Kristensen, both technical managers at Stavanger Drilling, stated that they had never heard of cracks or damage to the braces. The latter had spent eight days with Sæd on the platform manager’s penultimate trip. They believed that if serious flaws were discovered or welding work commenced, technical personnel and the other platform managerswould have been informed. The two platform managers, Kjetil Hauge and Odd Arnfinn Halvorsen, also stated that they had no knowledge of any cracks in the braces. 

Per Alvestad, an assistant on the Kielland who had participated in inspections of the braces with Sæd, stated that they had never found cracks during the inspections he had taken part in. 

No one could corroborate Egenberg’s story, and no one had heard that Sæd was aware of a crack in the brace. Consequently, the police closed the case in January 1982. 

You can read the interrogations here, where the police inquire about awareness of cracks in Kielland: 


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