Underwater Technology Conference

Bergen 21. juni 2017

A world-class service and supply industry in Norway 

Check against delivery.

Introduction

Good morning, everyone! It is a pleasure for me to open the 2017 edition of the Underwater Technology Conference. It is good to see all the international guests here. And let me say that you have chosen the right time of year to visit the lovely city of Bergen.

Already in my introduction, I have mentioned the key words for what we will be discussing here today: "underwater technology", "international", and "Bergen". And with good reason – they are a very good match.

Underwater technology – because that is what we need in order to find and exploit the resources on our seabed.

International – because this is a global industry by nature. Norway offers world-class expertise in the subsea sector, at the same time as international players bring their services to the Norwegian market.

And Bergen – because this is an important region for this part of the industry in Norway.

It is always a pleasure to address the industry, but today I have a particular reason to be pleased.

Yesterday, My Ministry approved the Plans for Development and Operation (PDO) for the Njord and Bauge fields in the Norwegian Sea. These projects entail total investments of some 19 billion NOK and will contribute to more than 5,500 man-years in the development phase.

Development of our resources offshore create activity and employment in the entire industry.

I am sure that Statoil's Torger Rød will say a bit more on those projects later today.

Oil and gas in Norway

We have a proud history of oil and gas in Norway, but the approval of PDO's shows clearly that this is also an industry for the future. Last year, we celebrated 50 years of petroleum activity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

In the course of that half-century, oil and gas has transformed Norway. It has become our by far most important economic sector. It has created wealth that was hardly imaginable prior to the petroleum era. It has been a source of income to the state and provided job opportunities across the country.

Even after what has been a difficult couple of years for the industry in Norway and world-wide, it still employs some 200,000 people, in a country with a population of about five million.

A sizeable share of those jobs are in the service and supply industry.

These highly skilled jobs are the result of a continuous technological development on the NCS. For decades, the NCS has served as a technological laboratory for the industry.

Everyone in the industry is part of a constant quest to find new and better solutions, to exploit the oil and gas on our seabed safely, efficiently and with the smallest carbon footprint possible.   

I am convinced that Norwegian oil and gas has a crucial role to play in covering the world's energy demand – also in a context where we achieve the goals we committed to in the climate agreement in Paris.

The world is going to demand huge amounts of oil and gas in the coming decades. Norway has the resources and the expertise to deliver our share.

We are well-placed to deliver oil and gas in a world that takes the climate challenge seriously, as emissions from the Norwegian petroleum sector are lower on average than in other petroleum provinces.

This Government has put the foundations in place for the continued success of this industry. We provide stable and predictable framework conditions, and crucially, we continue to provide attractive acreage for the companies to explore.

Therefore it is a particular pleasure for me to say that today, the Government is announcing the 24th licensing round on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

I will get back to the details of that announcement towards the end of my remarks. Please be patient!

Technological development/digitalisation

Even if Norwegians can be proud of our petroleum industry, there is no time for resting on our laurels.

In order to make sure that we have a competitive industry in Norway also in the decades to come, we need the technological development to continue.

That includes making full use of the potential that digitalisation offers.

Digitalisation has become something of a buzz word. These days, it seems that hardly a day goes by without some kind of conference on the 'digital revolution' taking place.

But let me be clear: digital tools do provide great opportunities. They can help make processes in the industry cheaper, safer and more efficient. This becomes especially important in light of the difficult times the petroleum industry has experienced in recent years.

The industry must use every opportunity to reduce unnecessary costs in order to stay competitive. Norway is a digitally advanced country and it seems to me that the industry is now scaling up their efforts to exploit what digitalisation, big data and automation can offer.  

I am confident that the Norwegian service and supply industry will continue along this path.

Subsea

The subsea segment is a good illustration of the technological advances that have been made in Norway.

Subsea technology from Norway is also delivered around the world.  For example to Brazil, UK and Australia. We are good at the bottom!

Now, I have only been the Minister of Petroleum and Energy for a few months, but I have already had the opportunity to visit a number of companies in the service and supply industry.

It has been a pleasure for me to get to know all the skilled people, innovative companies and ground breaking technologies that are found in the industry across the country.

At Aker Solutions in Tranby I got to take a closer look at the manufacturing of "Christmas trees" used in oil and gas extraction on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and across the globe.

At Horsøy, not far from here, I visited the facilities of OneSubsea not long ago.

Together with among others Radøygruppen, OneSubsea is delivering the subsea pump system for Shell's Stones project in the Gulf of Mexico. At approximately 2900 meters depth, this is the world's deepest oil field.

I think the companies can take pride in the fact that large international companies like Shell find the technology they need for such demanding projects right here on the West Coast of Norway.

This is concrete evidence of the world-class technological expertise that the Norwegian service and supply industry holds.

In addition to oil and gas, I believe the Norwegian service and supply industry has a lot to offer also in other sectors.

There is no contradiction in saying that oil and gas will continue to be our largest and most important sector for a long time yet, at the same time as we are looking to explore other options.

Exploration and extraction of minerals on our seabed could be one such option.

Norway has always been a seafaring nation and our key industries reflect this. However, we are only at a very early stage of exploring the mineral deposits on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The Government recently put forward a proposal for a new law regulating these activities. In this way, we put the conditions in place for a sustainable and profitable exploitation of the mineral deposits offshore.

I am confident that the expertise found in existing industries, such as the service and supply industry for oil and gas, can be put to use also in this new, exciting area.

An international business

As the example from Horsøy clearly illustrates, the expertise of our industry is not only sought after in Norway. As part of a global industry, Norwegian companies have deliveries to almost a hundred countries.

In 2015, the international turnover from the Norwegian service and supply industry was 190 billion NOK – 40 percent of total turnover.

These are impressive numbers, especially in light of the challenging times experienced by the oil and gas industry globally in the last few years.

Later today I will visit Clampon, which has its headquarter and production facilities here in Bergen, but deliver over 90 per cent overseas, I'm told.

The Norwegian service and supply industry is an international success story. Naturally, this is to the credit of the companies. However, the government also has a role to play in supporting the efforts of the industry to expand internationally.

Earlier this year we celebrated the launch of Norwegian Energy Partners, the new organisation merged from INTSOK and INTPOW. Those were the two bodies working on the internationalisation of the service and supply industry for petroleum and renewables, respectively.

The government has increased funding for the new organisation and has high expectations of what it can achieve.

The Government takes very seriously our role as a facilitator for the industry. Two weeks ago I attended the Clean Energy Ministerial and the research initiative Mission Innovation in Beijing.

Such visits also provide the opportunity to show what Norwegian companies have to offer. It was only natural that a large business delegation accompanied me to China.

China is a potentially big market for the Norwegian service and supply industry. Norwegian companies have a lot to offer Chinese deep-water development, drilling and subsea operations.

Four cooperation agreements between Norwegian and Chinese actors were signed during the visit. This is tangible proof that the Norway-China relationship is moving forward.

I mentioned that Norwegian companies deliver to markets across the globe, and let me highlight one more:

Brazil has developed into a key partner for Norway, both on the Government and the business side.

Many Norwegian companies have a significant presence in Brazil – one of the biggest offshore markets in the world.

In fact, Brazil was the third largest market for the Norwegian service and supply industry in 2015. Companies from Norway delivers products and services across the spectrum to the Brazilian market, from subsea equipment and installation, to topside and process equipment, to logistical services, and more.

There is also a significant cooperation between Norwegian and Brazilian authorities within research and development.  In 2013 the BN 21 Agreement was signed, which brings together key players in Brazil and Norway to enhance innovation.

BN 21 has proved very successful with the joint call organized last year between the Norwegian Research Council and its Brazilian counterpart FINEP.

I think both countries and their companies will benefit from this collaboration and look forward to see it develop in the time ahead.

Closing remarks

Ladies and gentlemen, I am approaching the end of my remarks. The technological development that we have seen in the petroleum sector in Norway, not least in the subsea segment, is something to be proud of.

The industry has used the Norwegian Continental Shelf as a laboratory for development. In turn, this expertise and technology has been taken out into the international markets.

In other words, our service and supply industry is an international success story. Norwegian companies are in high demand across the globe, and that includes many based right here in Bergen and Hordaland.

Conversely, the presence of international actors in Norway has helped the Norwegian industry flourish.

To conclude, this industry has a proud history, and despite challenging market conditions recently, a successful present. Judging from what I have seen during my meetings with the industry across the country, you can look forward to a bright future, too.

The Government's key contribution to ensuring a bright future is to award new acreage to the industry.

Today, the Government is announcing the 24th licensing round on the NCS. The announcement includes 102 blocks in this round, of which nine (9) are in the Norwegian Sea and 93 in the Barents Sea.

Companies will have until 30 November this year to submit applications and we aim to award licenses in the first half of 2018.

I am proud that this Government continues our policy of announcing new acreage for the industry, and thereby puts the foundations in place for long-term activity, growth and employment in the petroleum sector in Norway.

For those of you who want all the details, now would be a good time to visit government.no.                                                            

I hope that sets the right note for the Underwater Technology Conference. I wish you a rewarding conference. Thank you for listening!