Opening of Wintershall Norway HQ

Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Anniken Hauglie's opening of Wintershall Norway HQ.

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Meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren.

Ich moechte heute besonders die aus Deutschland

die angereisten Gaeste begruessen.

Herzlich willkommen hier in Stavanger!

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning!

Thank you for the opportunity to speak at the opening of Wintershall Norway's new headquarters. I see this as a clear statement of intent.

The opening of the new headquarters in Norway of a large international company like Wintershall demonstrates at least two important things.

First, it shows that the Norwegian Continental Shelf offers huge opportunities.

Even after 50 years of offshore activity, we have exploited less than half of the estimated resources on the Norwegian shelf.

In fact, only this morning, our Petroleum Directorate has presented revised, increased estimates for the resources in the Barents Sea.

Second, it shows that Norway is an attractive place to do business for international actors who have the ability and interest in developing our resources.

A company like Wintershall would not do business in Norway if it did not expect to create economic growth and value for its shareholders and employees.

This, in turn, benefits public coffers and Norwegian society as a whole.

This model has been a success for decades and I believe we have the foundations in place for continued success in the decades to come.

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Energy ties us closer together, not least to Germany.

Norway is - and will continue to be - a stable supplier of oil and gas.  

Norwegian production accounts for one third of  German consumption of natural gas.

You can count on Norway as a reliable supplier also in the future.

I want to be clear: The oil and gas industry is a business for the future.

It will continue to be our largest and most important economic sector for a long time to come. 

The Government's petroleum policy

A long-term and capital-intensive business like the petroleum industry requires predictable and stable framework conditions. This is a hallmark of Norwegian petroleum policy.

Within this framework, it is up to the companies to make the commercial decisions.

This division of labour has served us well, and it would be wise to hold on to this.  

Let me make it very clear:

The Government wants to maintain a high level of activity on our continental shelf. 

In order for that to happen, we will continue to make prospective exploration acreage available to the industry.

We will continue to offer acreage to companies that see significant, long-term business opportunities on the Norwegian Shelf, both in mature and frontier areas. 

Earlier this year we awarded licenses under the APA 2016 round, in the mature areas of the shelf.

We are also proceeding with the APA 2017 round and 24th licensing round and aim to announce these rounds before the summer. 

In doing so, the Government is putting the foundations in place for continued active exploration and extraction of oil and gas on our shelf, and by that, a continued high level of value creation and income to the state. 

Wintershall has been active in pursuing the options that these licensing rounds represent.

I hope this will continue.

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Technology, research and skills

This is a high-tech industry.

The story of petroleum activity in Norway is one of continuous technological development.

The key to that development is all the smart people working on ideas and solutions in companies like Wintershall and others, of course.

Still, the Government has an important role to play in funding R&D efforts.

I am proud to say that this Government has increased funding for petroleum and energy research in every single budget thus far.

I hope that we get the chance to continue with this -  also after we have held elections this September.

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As you all know, the last couple of years have been challenging for the petroleum industry, in Norway and worldwide.

The Government has made significant funds available in a stimulus package for measures to address the downturn.

I know that instruments like the Demo 2000 programme, aiding companies in testing and piloting new technologies on the way to the market, have been well received.

Another side of the same story is the need to recruit the bright young minds of tomorrow.

Taking on trainees and providing on-the-job training to new recruits is vital to ensure that we have a competent work force in this industry in the decades ahead.

I am confident that companies like Wintershall and others in the sector will take this responsibility seriously in the future, as well.

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As I started by saying, the opening of this new office is a clear signal of intent by Wintershall.

You are in it for the long haul.

This is evident when we look at existing projects and on plans for the future.

I know that you are particularly looking forward to starting production from the Maria field in the Norwegian Sea next year.

And may I say, on behalf of the Norwegian Government, I welcome the opening of all new fields whole-heartedly!

It is my pleasure to declare the new headquarters officially open.

Congratulations!

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