Energy and petroleum research

The aim of the research and development (R&D) policy within the energy and petroleum sector is to contribute to efficient and sustainable exploitation of Norwegian energy and petroleum resources Developing and implementing new solutions is a key element in Norway’s ambition of being a world leader within the development of environmentally friendly energy.

The aim of the research and development (R&D) policy within the energy and petroleum sector is to contribute to efficient and sustainable exploitation of Norwegian energy and petroleum resources Developing and implementing new solutions is a key element in Norway’s ambition of being a world leader within the development of environmentally friendly energy.

A continued emphasis on development of technology is vital to Norway being able to manage renewable energy and petroleum resources in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner. Further, Norway has strong research communities and significant industrial activities which are founded on exploitation of our energy and petroleum resources. Our goal is for our research communities and industry to develop their expertise and be competitive on the international stage. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy concentrates its research efforts in areas where there are specific Norwegian research needs, where Norwegian research communities have unique expertise and standing, where Norwegian industry and other user groups have the expertise necessary to use research results and where Norwegian energy resources give us a unique position in the long run.   

Industry stands for most of the funding of research within the energy and petroleum sector. Public funding contributes to financing R&D activities which otherwise would not have been initiated by the industry. Focusing on both research and technology development contributes to ensuring increased economic growth and welfare for today’s society as well as future generations.

Important challenges and priorities

The petroleum sector
The petroleum sector represents a large source of income for the Government. Future value creation within the oil and gas sector depends on how efficiently we can exploit the remaining resources on the Norwegian continental shelf. Focus on R&D and competence building is important in order to ensure efficient and environmentally friendly exploitation of the petroleum resources, and at the same time contribute to development of the Norwegian petroleum industry as our foremost high-tech knowledge industry.

Based on today’s plans, about half the oil will remain under the seabed. An increase in the recovery rate would yield considerable revenues for the Norwegian State. Significant efforts are therefore necessary to increase recovery from existing fields. At the same time, new areas for exploration and production are being opened up in technologically demanding areas in the north. The potential for new discoveries in the northern areas is significant, but will necessitate the development of increasingly efficient, safer technology for oil and gas activities in challenging areas. The government’s goal is to further develop expertise which will better enable us to operate sustainably in the northern areas. Experience from the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea forms a solid foundation for the development of technology for the northern areas. Based on this knowledge, further R&D is crucial to ensure sustainable exploration for and development of petroleum deposits in the northern areas. 

The energy sector
Climate challenges and the development toward a low emission society require a focus on the development of technology for renewable energy and efficient energy use. As a nation, Norway a national advantage within the energy sector. Our knowledge and expertise can play an important part in the work to find solutions which reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production and use of energy.

This focus will contribute to efficient exploitation of national energy resources and ensure efficient, robust and environmentally friendly power and energy supply in Norway. At the same time, this funding will increase opportunities for Norwegian businesses and expertise to compete in an international market within renewable energy solutions.

There is a great need for development and demonstration of new technology for capture and storage of CO2 (CCS)  . According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global emissions of greenhouse gases must be reduced by at least 50-85 per cent compared with the 2000 level by 2050 in order to reach the two-degree target. Still, fossil-based energy will continue to be necessary for many decades to come in order to meet a growing demand for energy as a result of increased welfare in countries outside the OECD. For this reason, CO2 capture and storage will be an important contribution in the work on reducing emissions. Focus on R&D and demonstration within CCS in Norway will provide new knowledge and contribute to developing more efficient and cheaper solutions. Such a focus is necessary if CCS is to be be developed into an efficient climate tool with broad global application.

Important players and tools






National R&D strategies: Energi21 and OG21
The strategy groups OG21 (Oil and gas in the 21st century) and Energi21 were appointed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in 2001 and 2008 respectively. The objective was to develop national R&D strategies for the petroleum and the energy sector which could be normative for both business and industry and the authorities. The work is managed by boards where the industry, research communities and a relevant public bodies are all represented. This cooperation lays the foundation for coordinated, efficient and targeted research and technology efforts, where increased involvement by business and industry is the main focus. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy uses these strategies as a basis from which to govern the Ministry’s R&D funding which is administered by the Research Council of Norway. The OG21 strategy was last revised in 2010, while Energi21 was revised in 2011.  

The Research Council of Norway

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy’s R&D funding within the energy and petroleum sector is mainly channeled through the Research Council of Norway. The Research Council’s programmes PETROMAKS 2, ENERGIX, DEMO 2000, PETROSAM 2 and CLIMIT, as well as ten Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FMEs), are the most important measures financed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. The Ministry also supports the addition of two new centres devoted to petroleum in 2013 – a research and expertise centre for arctic challenges and a research centre within increased recovery. The research programmes in the Research Council cover long-term basic research, applied research for development of new technology including piloting and small demo facilities, as well as social science aspects of energy and petroleum research. More recently, the Ministry has increased its focus on long-term expertise building in the projects receiving funding.

A comprehensive focus on the development of technology is important to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. In the early phases of the innovation chain, where technology is being established, research and development are essential. In order to benefit from the research commitment, it is necessary to continue efforts to support market introduction of new energy and climate technology. Within energy, ENERGIX provides funding for research and smaller pilot projects, while Enova represents the final link in the innovation chain, providing funding for full-scale demonstration facilities within energy and climate technology. Among other things, Enova can provide funding for investments in full-scale production technologies in the industry. This focus builds on Enova’s former subsidy programme for demonstrating new technology. The goal of the new focus is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the development of conversion to renewable energy in the long term. 

Within R&D in the area of CO2 capture and storage, Gassnova SF is responsible for administering funding for the demonstration projects in the CLIMIT programme. The Norwegian government, through Gassnova, is also one of the owners of the CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM DA) which was opened in May 2012. The centre was built to test and demonstrate technologies for capturing CO2. The Government’s goal is for the technology centre to be an arena for long term, targeted development, testing and qualification of technology for CO2 capture. 

Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration (NVE) is responsible for some of the research activities within the energy sector, covering internal needs and mostly concentrated on research into water management issues..

International research
In addition to national research activities, Norway and Norwegian research communities cooperate actively in the arena of international energy and petroleum research. International R&D cooperation is an important supplement to national research efforts and will contribute to increasing the quality and capacity of the research. It will also help ensure that Norway has access to new international knowledge, strengthen the competitive power of business and industry and promote Norway as a leading nation within energy and petroleum research and innovation.