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Ladies and Gentlemen,
Günaydın – good morning!
It is an honour to be here at the opening of this seminar on underground works at the Turkish-Norwegian partnership forum.
I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to our hosts –
Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Embassy and the Norwegian Tunneling Society – for organizing this event.
And not least, I would like to thank all you who participate here at the seminar on underground works.
Let my also congratulate the Turkish representatives here on the opening last week of the Marmaray underwater tunnel under the Bosphorus.
This tunnel serves as an impressive testimony to Turkish world class engineering and tunnelling.
As His Royal Majesty King Harald mentioned in his speech this morning;
Norwegian landscape is varied, rugged and challenging.
In some areas we regard this to be an advantage.
When marketing Norway as a tourist destination we use the slogan
“Norway – powered by nature”.
Indeed, our tourism industry is powered by beautiful natural attractions that attract nature-loving tourists.
But our country is powered by nature in other ways, too:
High mountains and mountain lakes, combined with snow and rainy seasons, makes Norway ideal for exploiting hydropower.
Today, we are Europe’s largest producer of hydropower.
• 99 per cent of Norway’s electricity production is hydropower-based.
• More than 60 per cent of our total energy consumption is based on hydropower and other renewable energy sources.
However, our rugged topography also represents challenges:
No matter where you want to go in Norway you are likely to have to cross a fjord or a mountain.
To overcome these challenges – I should probably say undercome these challenges... – Norway has had to build up state of the art knowledge and skills in underground works and tunnelling for a variety of purposes:
From tunnels for roads, trains and even for ships – to tunnels for hydropower or mining – or even large underground reservoirs for oil and gas.
The variation of challenges that the Norwegian tunneling industry have had to solve, has given us an industry of contractors, consultants, suppliers and owners with a great competence on handling a variety of underground construction.
This experience is part of the background for why the Norwegian Tunneling Society is planning to bid for hosting the World Tunnel Congress in 2017.
Turkey has considerable hydropower potential.
The Turkish Government’s goal is that 30 percent of total Turkish energy consumption in 2023 shall be based on renewable energy.
To achieve this: hydropower must be an important part of the solution.
I am happy to see that Norwegian companies, like Statkraft, take part in the energy sector in Turkey and contribute to the development of the sector.
Statkraft has a hundred years of experience and expertise in the development, construction and operation of hydropower plants in Norway and generates renewable energy in more than 20 countries all over the world.
Hydropower is one of the topics from today’s seminar where Norway and Turkey can benefit from stronger economic cooperation.
But also in other areas will we see a growing demand for underground solutions:
• For instance; underground storage-facilities for oil and gas.
• Or in cities where more and more infrastructure is being moved underground – a topic very relevant here in Istanbul.
Underground engineering is a field of expertise both in Norway and in Turkey.
Today, specialists from both our countries will share their experiences with different aspects of underground engineering.
A seminar such as this is a great opportunity for experience sharing and competence building.
But it is also a great possibility for establishing new partnerships and even stronger Turkish-Norwegian bonds.
As His Majesty King Harald mentioned;
for the first time, a Turkish contractor has submitted a bid for a road tunnel project in Norway.
This is a very welcome development.
I also hope to see an increasing number of Norwegian companies offering their expertise to Turkish infrastructure projects.
I encourage you to exploit this opportunity to get to know each other and to learn from each other – and to establish new partnerships for mutual benefit.
I am sure you will find that you have a lot to offer each other.
I hope the discussions will be both constructive and interesting,
and I wish you all a successful seminar.
Thank you for your attention.