History of the Oil Tank

For many years my career as a cinematographer, allowed me to travel extensively. These travels have also taken me to northern Norway.

The northern region has always fascinated me, and I had dreamt of swimming with killer whales in Tyssfjorden. A dream that was finally realized on 30 December 2006, as a birthday present from my girlfriend Agnete, and my daughter Frida. The landscape, nature adventures and the people gave me lasting memories.

An idea is conceived

In the summer of 2007, Agnete and I travelled to Skrova for a photo exhibition by Agnete. Terje Nygaard who runs the Gallery at the Photo wharf is a good friend of ours, and we had visited the island on several occasions and were always mesmorised by it.

On that trip we did not go with any concrete plans to acquire a place in Lofoten, even though we had, once in a while, looked a little extra long at some old houses.

I sat there on the pier on a summer evening with my good friend Ole Bjorn Johnsen, and talked about a couple of houses on Skrova that was for sale. Ole Bjorn thought it was a hopeless dream, and said lightly ironic: "Can not you build a cabin out of the oil tank on the hill over there?" several days later Ole Bjorn was more than a little surprised when he learned that I had taken up the challenge.


I got in touch with Per Gunnar Olsen who owned the abandoned oil tank. He had previously run a large fish processing plant on the island, and also sold fuel oil to the fishing fleet. Per Gunnar told me that the tank had been empty since the early 1980's. When asked if he would sell, with the proviso that Vågan municipality would approve the building plans, he shook his head, smiled disbelievingly, and said yes.

Later in the autumn of that year we were again traveling to Skrova with family and friends. One of them was architectural student Kristian Kistorp, who was looking for inspiration for a term paper on the architectural school in Aalborg, Denmark. Kristian was a great support and contributor during the planning.

We concluded that his ideas were a good starting point that developed into a slightly different plan. The tank was dry, odorless and very little rust. The greatest challenge lay in the interior height that was too low to accommodate three floors which we felt we needed. The old pipes fit perfectly as drain pipes, and water and electricity access were not far away. Once the surveying was done I had decided, the oil tank would be house


In Oslo there were several meetings with a good friends, one, Jon Skappel, a structural engineer was crazy like me and happy to join the project. Jon just showed me a solution so that the walls would remain curved. Jon also had the idea that we could raise the roof 30 cm to allow for three levels.

The challenge around the condensation problem, insulation and steel we also found a solution. My childhood friend and oldest friend, John Christian Gahr happens to be an engineer with a home in Bodø. Hw was another crazy man and agreed to join in the planning. He has done a fantastic job of getting pressure in the tank.

Also a carpenter colleague and friend from my days as a carpenter Kjell Norum, and my brother Paal Otter Beck helped set up the frame and cut out the windows. Carpenter and Superman Paul Thomassen had powers when all mine truly faded away.

Electrician Jan Olav at Gimsøy Installation has made it possible that the tank could be linked to the main electricity supply. Morten Bradt at Design Kitchen have delivered more than just a kitchen, and Johan Knudsen a mechanical engineering on Skrova has been indispensable for his welding he deserves a large gold medal.

From the beginning of April 2008, when we got the building permit from the municipality, my time has been filled with lots of nice work trips to Skrova. At the end of July 2010 OILTANK was finally completed.

A warm thank you to everyone who has made the idea possible. And most of all thanks to my father to find, as always, a way of building weird and beautiful things! Thanks all for the journey!

Thanks to…

takk Øystein Wasteson - takk Jack Herheim - takk Anders Tomren - takk Bård Fjulsrud - takk Henning Pedersen - takk Dorthe Skappel - takk Per Amund Riseng - takk Gunnar Misvær - takk Ingeborg Riseng - takk Truls Svensen - takk Arne Dag Pettersen - takk Jim Eide - takk Stig Starck - takk Anders Vegstein - takk Byggeren Trebygg – takk Namek - takk Mogens Iuel - takk Håkon Wetre - takk Jørn Broll - takk Frida Marie Otterbeck - takk Erik Settemsdal - takk Helene Harsheim - takk Erling Moxness - takk Anne Nymo Trulsen - takk Nina Misvær - takk Randi Otterbeck Sverdrup - takk Morten Brun - takk Alf Helge Iversbakken - takk Bjørn Åge Berg - takk Ingrid og Johan Brun - takk Alexander Christensen - takk Alfred Sandøy - takk Bjarne Grav - takk Espen Devor - takk Terje Ragnes - takk Torgny Stokland - takk Odd Arne Luritzen - takk Roy Arne Salater - takk Thor Hermann takk Haagensen med sitt fantastiske Lillemeg hus - takk Steinar Henriksen - och tackar søtabror Mathias og Kristian - takk Agnete som ikke har sett mye til kjæresten og sin - og takk til alle Skrovas innbyggere - Skrova Ruuuuuuuler! -