Speech/statement | Date: 08/12/2011
Perth, Australia, December 8. 2011
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Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be here in Perth.
I am especially happy to take part in the summing up of this conference on Shipping and Maritime Offshore and Safer and Cleaner Production.
I am very pleased to see the presence of so many Australian companies.
And it is good to see that such a large number of Norwegian companies have made the long journey.
Australia and Norway are close partners in many areas.
We work together in addressing major global challenges like climate change and peace and security.
We are both major energy powers with abundant oil and gas resources.
Norway started developing its offshore activities 40 years ago in the North Sea.
Today we operate far North and in deep waters under very harsh conditions.
Australia is now pushing the limits in exploiting new and exciting oil and gas discoveries off its coast.
I am confident that together we can overcome the technological challenges and realise the potential of these new energy resources.
This conference is a great opportunity to exchange ideas, strengthen existing ties, and build new partnerships.
Norwegians have been coming to Australia for a long time.
Some came, saw and left – in search for gold.
Some settled down with their families.
Others established business here, such as the Norwegian shipping line Wilh. Wilhelmsen.
Its vessels have been sailing to Australia for the last 100 years.
The petroleum and maritime offshore sector is a fairly new area of Australian–Norwegian cooperation.
But it is an increasingly important part of our bilateral business relations.
Australia is one of the most attractive petroleum areas in the world today.
- It has a growing economy with political and social stability,
- New important petroleum discoveries,
- And exciting investments plans.
Australia and Norway play an important role in supplying the world with vital energy.
And we are both committed to reducing the carbon footprint of fossil fuels.
Growth, prosperity and a rising global population will continue to push up demands for energy.
Investments will have to be made in exploration, new field developments and existing production capacity.
The Fukushima incident has proved the need for alternative energy resources.
Natural gas can be the bridge from both nuclear energy and coal to a low-emission future.
Natural resources management is basically about extracting the most resources while leaving the smallest environmental footprint.
We need to tackle the two challenges simultaneously.
We need to provide the world with sufficient energy, and at the same time reduce the global green house gas emissions.
We need to make some hard choices.
A price on emissions is necessary to give the right incentives for emission cuts.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) will create business opportunities and attract private sector investment.
I am an ardent believer in a price on emissions, and I have seen it work.
The CO2 tax on the Norwegian continental shelf, introduced in 1991, resulted in the Sleipner CO2 storage project.
The CO2 removed from the gas stream from the Sleipner offshore field is equivalent to almost 2% of total Norwegian emissions.
I am pleased to see that Australia recently decided to put a price on carbon emissions.
Norway and Australia have for many years had a close and fruitful cooperation on Carbon Capture and Storage.
I am impressed by the speed of the development of the Australian natural gas sector.
You are now the 4th largest LNG exporter in the world.
And I understand that Australia’s LNG capacity will expand substantially over the coming years.
Innovation in the industry is crucial.
This requires more focus on research, development and demonstration.
The willingness to invest in research has been key for the development of the Norwegian petroleum industry.
The Norwegian industry representatives present today have played an important role.
Aker, Kværner, the Kongsberg Group, Norlense, DOF Subsea, DNV, Farstad Shipping, Framo, Marine Cybernetics, FMC Technologies
and many others:
They have all helped to transform Norway into a major exporter of petroleum and maritime offshore technology.
Forty years of experience from a challenging environment has fostered an innovative industry in Norway.
The Norwegian continental shelf is known as a “laboratory” for testing new technology.
With Government incentives,
research institutions and the industry in Norway are continuously developing and testing cutting edge technologies.
Subsea gas compression is currently being tested offshore Norway.
With this technology in place, the recovery rate and lifetime of several existing fields can be considerably increased.
Building a competitive industry is largely about access to the best talents and ideas and the ability to realise these assets.
For example, traditional shipping companies seized the new opportunities and restructured their businesses towards the maritime offshore sector.
Today, Norwegian ship owners control the world’s second largest fleet of offshore service vessels.
Many Norwegian shipyards and equipment manufacturers have specialised in the offshore segment,
and have become an important part of the new offshore supply industry.
Being able to adapt and adjust to new business opportunities, new technology and new markets, is key to continued success.
We have greatly benefited from foreign companies participating on the Norwegian continental shelf.
They came and shared their experience and competence with Norwegian companies.
Australia has a stable political environment, substantial hydrocarbon reserves,
and closeness to hungry Asian markets.
This makes Australia a truly attractive country for foreign investment.
The broad range of Norwegian companies present here today is a testimony to this.