UTC Program Committee Chairman Jon Arve Sværen caught Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on the sidelines at this year’s UTC. He asked what the Norwegian government was doing to support the subsea industry.
“We have a taxation system to makes sure it’s quite affordable for oil companies to reach for the best practises always,” she says. “We have research and development programs we have increased funding for research and development in technology areas especially when it’s close in cooperation with business themselves. We still have the research in energy, which is vital. We have the catapults, we have a lot of these instruments.
“We have big climate fund that gives priority to technologies that are first moving ahead in these areas. Oil companies also have to look at their own future economics and be more in to low emission parts because there will be new demands in future so their own business model should also provide funding in to that.”
Jon Arve also asked about where she sees the industry sitting with climate change.
“I have been very clear there’s a lot of things happening when it comes to climate change,” she says. “The youth are very concerned about climate change, and what type of earth we will deliver to next generations. Then we have to talk about solutions, technology challenges, also what possibilities lay ahead. It’s easy to say let’s stop production and think that will solve it. In Norway that means less jobs, less welfare and little effect on emissions. We have to make sure emissions are as small as can be on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and how we use new technology, how we can use offshore wind, for example, how technology in oil and gas can be adapted to other sectors. We know there’s linkage from subsea technologies to other areas such as minerals that we will need in a low emission society.”
Jon Arve then asked about her view of the cluster programmes and if they would continue.
“The cluster programmes shows it really leads to an effect. It’s changed the way businesses worked together instead of competing because you can have mutual projects on long term developments and work together with research institutes. There will always be a discussion how many, and how much, but I think they have shown they should be there for the future and we will try to be as predictable as politicians can be. We could continue to see value, to see they are moving ahead.
“We are always looking at different lines of instruments where the new areas are. Where are the holes in the system to make sure we are using the knowledge base we have.”
Finally, Prime Minister Solberg said how important an event like UTC is. “Knowledge sharing is very important. You get more by sharing knowledge and working together. Having a conference like this (is also) showing Bergen as a hub for technology development.”
Written by Elaine Maslin