Norway wants to see oil & gas and renewables ‘thriving’ side-by-side
The key takeaway from this year’s conference, organised by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) in Norway, is the importance of the coexistence of multiple energy industries on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), which despite being challenging is still possible, as there is more than enough room to create values from not only oil and gas but also renewables in Norwegian waters.
The first Norwegian Petroleum Directorate conference was held last year in connection with the NPD’s 50th anniversary and Norway plans to hold these conferences every two years. This year’s topic was coexistence and participants from the industry, public administration, and academia discussed whether the industries on the Norwegian Continental Shelf were “thriving” side-by-side, or whether they were devolving into “chaos and conflict.”
Torgeir Stordal, NPD’s Director General, opened the conference by referring to the different industries’ long-standing tradition of coexistence on the shelf: “Norway has a long coastline, and the sea has always been an important commercial arena. Over the years, this has provided business development opportunities. Norwegian public administration has been deliberate in its regulation to ensure that the various industries can operate side-by-side.”
While good coexistence between industries has been a fundamental premise since the start, Frode Alfheim, president of union Industri Energi, also pointed out the importance of tripartite cooperation between industry, employee organisations, and public administration.
Monica Bjørkmann, chair of Offshore Norge and Vice President of Subsea 7 in Norway, who was among the participants and also a contributor at the NPD conference held in Stavanger, remarked: “We need to work on renewables and oil and gas at the same time. Our members support this.”
This panel also featured Karl Johnny Hersvik, CEO of Aker BP, who reminded: “We just invested 200 billion kroner. It goes without saying that we believe in the future. We’re going to succeed in the transition. There’s plenty of acreage. If it doesn’t work out, it’ll be because communication or the regulatory processes break down, but I don’t see that happening.”
A few days ago, Aker BP celebrated the start of the fabrication phase for two of these oil and gas projects, which are located in the North Sea. This milestone was achieved by cutting the first steel plates for these projects at Aker Solutions’ yard. This followed the start-up of construction for another one of these recently greenlighted projects, known as the Skarv Satellite Project (SSP), which was celebrated on Tuesday, 29 August 2023.
Torger Rød, COO of Vår Energi, emphasised the importance of looking for solutions in the coexistence environment on the NCS by saying: “We want it to work out. It’s going to work out. Kalle (Karl Johnny) and I are competitors, but mostly partners. We need the other players, like the fishermen and the military, so we’re going to solve this.”