Business and industry in Norway - The chemical industry

Number of companies557
Number of employees21973
This sector’s export share59
Gross product in percentage2,2

The chemical industry in Norway is very diverse, consisting of everything from small niche companies manufacturing for the domestic market to major industrial groups, such as Dyno and Hydro, which have large production facilities in several countries. The industry is characterised by various materials being refined into products for final usage or to be used directly in another industrial process. Large parts of Norway’s chemicals industry have developed as a result of the plentiful supply of hydropower, gas and oil, but they are also a natural result of the demand for chemical products on the part of other industries and businesses. Examples of finished products include pharmaceuticals, industrial gases, petrol tanks and plastic sledges. Most of Norway’s chemicals industry manufactures chemical raw materials, with Hydro and Borealis as major manufacturers. The manufacture of chemical raw materials is characterised by large facilities, which are often a prerequisite for profitable operations. The chemical raw-materials industry is located throughout the country but is mainly concentrated in south-eastern Norway, more exactly in Grenland and in the county of Østfold.

Chemico technical products consist of finished goods of an extremely varied nature, covering everything from paint and glue to pharmaceuticals. Glue and adhesives are used in the manufacture of chipboard and glued-wood constructions. The pharmaceutical industry in Norway consists of a few companies of which some, such as Alpharma and Nycomed Amersham, are world leaders in their fields. The market for pharmaceuticals reflects the fact that the public sector is both a major buyer and a financer of much of the use of pharmaceuticals in Norway.

Oil is refined at two refineries in Norway. These refineries mainly manufacture petrol, diesel, heating-fuel oil and light oil products, as well as coke for the aluminium industry. More than 65 per cent of their output is exported to other European countries where the competition is stiff. Over the past few years, new environmental standards for fuel and production processes have become very important framework conditions for this sector.

CompanyProduct
Hydro petrokjemi, BorealisChemical raw materials
Norsk HydroChemical fertiliser
JotunPaint and varnish
Weifa, Nycomed Pharma, og Fresenius Kabi Halden ANS Pharmaceuticals, such as paracetamol and aspirin
Nycomed AmershamContrast fluid for diagnostic work
AlpharmaFeed additives
LilleborgDetergents and toilet articles
Dyno NobelExplosives
RaufossAmmunition and defence materials
Pronova BiopolymerAlginates from kelp and sea grass for use in various industries
Statoil Mongstad, The Esso refineryCrude-oil refining

The chemical industry

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