Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg underlined her and the government’s support for the offshore oil and gas industry, especially the subsea industry, in a keynote speech and visit to this year’s Underwater Technology Conference in her home town, Bergen.
Speaking to this afternoon’s full plenary audience, she said that the oil and gas industry was not only the largest contributor to Norway’s jobs, value creation and exports, but that it and the subsea industry also had a major role to play in societal change, providing its knowledge and expertise to help address issues from climate change to food production.
“As an ocean nation, Norway is having to adapt to a changing world and find new ways of using its ocean resources,” she told UTC. “Underwater technology has a key role to play. Technology developed for our continental shelf can also be used in other sectors, such as health care, space-related activities, seafood and renewable energy.”
To those who demand Norway should reduce its oil and gas activities, or even set a final date for production, she said: “I strongly disagree. Stopping production now would have dramatic consequences for our society in terms of jobs, value creation and state revenues.” She remarked on this year being the 50th anniversary of the industry in Norway and that with the second phase of Johan Sverdrup, there would be another 50 years to come.
But, she also said that non-renewable resource would not last forever. If production was just stopped, it would in effect stop important technology developments that could support breakthroughs in new carbon capture and storage technology, or to help better exploit marine resources, meet the increasing food needs or perhaps extract minerals from the seabed. “It can give us the power to transform into a low emission society, to create new jobs, to further develop our ocean sector,” she said.
Written by Elaine Maslin