Norway is hosting ONS, its oil exhibition, conference and festival, in Stavanger from August 27 to 30. It’s a short trip there from Aberdeen and, with more than 65,000 visitors last time round, one that will be made by many from the oil industry here.
A unique relationship forged on energy has developed between the UK and Norway through a long history of collaboration and innovation in the North Sea. This has helped create investor confidence and has promoted a safe playing field for doing business. We are, literally, neighbours in oil and there is an undoubted attraction in looking for opportunities to expand your business into the Norwegian sector. It is, of course, not a one-way stream.
The UK is one of Norway’s most important partners for trade in goods, services and investments. The UK is by some margin the most important market for the Norwegian oil & gas sector, with gas exported from Norway accounting for around 40% of UK consumption. That number is set to rise, as is the increase in activity of Norwegian corporates in the UK market.
Statoil, now Equinor, has of course led the way with its development of the Mariner field and its focus on offshore wind projects through its Sheringham Shoal, Dudgeon and Hywind offshore wind farms.
For UK companies, doing business in the sophisticated and established Norwegian market is an attractive proposition. The UK services sector has a positive reputation in Norway and with significant investments being made in new discoveries such as the Johan Sverdrup field and new acreage in the Barents Sea, there are growing opportunities to be had. This trend is supported by
Scottish Development International who have seen a marked increase in tenders coming out of Norway and are on hand, with an office in Stavanger, to help support companies looking to access the Norwegian markets.
Although the final shape of Brexit may be unknown, the mutuality of interests between the UK and Norway should ensure that the future framework for trade between our countries remains a stable and positive one.
In 2014, ONS had the ominous theme of “Change” to tackle head-on the reality check of plunging oil prices that few will look back on with unadulterated relish. This was followed in 2016 by the theme of “Transition” which sought to address both adapting to a lower cost base and a shift to a broader energy mix.
For 2018, the theme for ONS is “Innovate”. This will, and there is no secret here, look at embracing opportunities for technological advances across the industry, delivering efficiencies, investing in low carbon oil and gas, and finding profitable positions in renewable energy.
With the OGTC providing a focus on transforming the UK’s supply chain to create a culture of innovation in the north-east, we are well-placed to contribute to that debate.
A strong exhibitor list and programme has been published by ONS, and with high visitor numbers forecast we can expect some positive outcomes from the event. So take a trip to Stavanger to join the path to enlightenment. Or innovation, at least.