Your Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to start my introduction by expressing my gratitude to Libya for inviting us. I am very happy to be here.
Libya is growing in importance politically and economically. From a Norwegian view this is very positive. We are a petroleum producing country and wish to cooperate more closely with Libya. It is also positive from a global view, considering that Libya contributes to meeting the global energy demand.
It is just a few hours since I landed on Libyan soil and I have never been here before. Still, I have a feeling of being on home ground as I am right here on Statoil’s premises. I like to think that Hydro and Statoil’s offices abroad somehow are an extension of Norway.
Statoil is in many ways the lawful child of Norwegian petroleum politics. The company was established in 1972 as a fully state-owned oil company. It was regarded as important for ensuring the best possible government control over the development of Norway’s petroleum resources. Gradually the state's role towards the company became less of a policy instrument, and today it is partially privatised and treated as any other company on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
The Norwegian government has over the years tried to maintain a careful balance between attracting the international oil companies and retaining sufficient national control. Only by cooperating with international companies, the Norwegian oil and gas industry has been able to develop into a sustainable industry. Statoil developed its competence in close cooperation with the international oil companies and step by step the company grew to become the main operator on the Norwegian continental Shelf.
In addition to having national upstream companies, it has been a deliberate policy to develop petroleum related supply and service industry companies. Statoil has been a fundamental part of the Norwegian system where the oil companies cooperate closely with the petroleum related supply industry. The company has been the source for many innovative and competitive supply firms operating all over the world today.
Developing and producing petroleum on the Norwegian Continental Shelf has faced us with many challenges. Statoil has been essential in developing technology that enables us to overcome these barriers.
The company has been an important driver in developing sub sea technology.
Together with Hydro and the supply industry it has contributed greatly to the development of technology for increased oil recovery.
Statoil has been an important player in developing large gas value chains on the NCS. The Norwegian gas production is increasing considerably and Statoil are by far the largest player in the Norwegian gas industry. We have an extensive gas transportation system from Norway to Europe – most of which has been constructed by Statoil.
The latest large development of Statoil is Snøhvit, which represents a new era in the Norwegian petroleum history, as the first large-scale LNG facility in Europe.
It is my wish that Norwegian oil companies can use their experience from the NCS in other petroleum provinces in the world. And I am convinced that Statoil and the rest of the Norwegian petroleum cluster have competence and technology that can be of interest in Libya. At the same time it is fundamental that they bring back home fresh ideas and innovations, not least from Libya, with its long term petroleum experience.
Finally, I hereby have the pleasure of declaring this office for officially opened. It is my sincere hope that it will contribute to the exchange of ideas and experiences to the benefit of both Libya and Norway.
In this way, Statoil’s office in Tripoli will not be home nor foreign ground, but the common ground for cooperation between us.