Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe wrote the Norwegian petroleum sector’s profile and future in the report:
Our stewardship of Norway’s petroleum resources has been a success. These resources belong to the Norwegian State, and they must benefit the entire Norwegian society. This has been the foundation for how our petroleum resources have been managed since the 1960s. Today, the petroleum industry is Norway’s largest, measured either in value creation, revenues to the Norwegian State, or export value. More than 200 000 people are directly or indirectly employed by the industry. The Government Pension Fund – Global, popularly known as the Petroleum Fund, has a market value in excess of NOK 3 000 billion. That equals more than NOK 600 000 per Norwegian. In 2011 alone, the petroleum activities will contribute in excess of NOK 300 billion to the state coffers.
The main objective of our petroleum policy is to ensure long-term management of, and value creation from, the petroleum resources. Our management must be comprehensive, and based on knowledge and facts. By doing so, we will make sure that the petroleum resources will contribute to an improved quality of life for the citizens of Norway, also in the years to come.
Being responsive to demands is a key factor for sustainability
We have every reason to be proud of how we have managed our shared petroleum resources, and that is why I want to continue the basic principles of our petroleum policy. The key challenges facing us today are improved recovery from fields, development of discoveries and locating and proving undiscovered resources. Our continued success depends on adapted policy instruments when the circumstances demand it. This will be the subject of the petroleum White Paper to be presented in the summer of 2011.
There is a huge energy deficit in emerging countries. Today, 1.5 billion people have no access to electricity and every year, 1.3 million die from carbon monoxide poisoning and other diseases due to a lack of cleaner light and heat. Increased access to Norwegian energy for emerging countries will contribute to improving living conditions and help millions take the initial steps out of poverty.
Recent years have witnessed recordhigh exploration activity on the shelf, with a number of new and active players. This is the result of a successful introduction of the exploration refund scheme, the APA rounds (Awards in Predefined Areas), the prequalification scheme and high oil prices. A diversity of players and healthy competition amongst them promotes profitable utilisation of our oil and gas resources. More than 150 commercial discoveries have been made on the Norwegian shelf since 2000. Together, these discoveries contain more resources than Ekofisk – one of our largest oil fields.
Names are important as symbols
The recent discovery in the Barents Sea demonstrates the significant potential found in frontier areas. This discovery could contain as much as 250 million barrels of oil which, with today’s oil prices, is worth around NOK 165 billion. This and other future discoveries will result in positive ripple effects in the north. Names are important as symbols. Discoveries that represent great leaps ahead for the industry, the region, or the country as a whole, must be given names reflecting this. Many Norwegian fields have names from Norse mythology, deeply rooted in our national culture. This is a tradition that should be continued. However, the strongest symbolic names from our Norse mythology have already been used, which gives us reason to also consider new types of names. Naming our petroleum resources should thus be conducted in a way suited to our national context and history.
These are exciting and challenging times for the Norwegian petroleum industry. Activity levels are high and interest in the Norwegian continental shelf is strong. The Norwegian supplier industry is competitive, with a prominent presence on the international stage. The world needs Norwegian energy, and I see a significant potential for the Norwegian petroleum industry in the years to come.