Worldwide: Norwegian Oil And Gas Technology And Know-How Driving Deep Water Activity


The Norwegian oil and gas industry has lasted for almost five decades, and the activity has established the petroleum sector as the most important industry in Norway, counting for more than 23% of the total value creation in 2012. The petroleum production on the shelf has added more than NOK 9000 billion to the country's GDP over the about 40 last years1. The value creation in the sector positions Norway in the top world ranking due to the significant trade surplus2.

Today 76 fields are in production and produced in 2012 about 1,9 mill barrels of oil per day and about 111 bill standard cubic meters (SM3) gas. Norway is ranked as the seventh largest oil exporter and the fourteenth largest oil producer in the world. In 2011 Norway was the third largest gas exporter and the sixth largest gas producer in the world.3

Yesterday Created Today

When they gave their opinion in connection with the UN Geneva conference concerning a law for the oceans in 1958, Norwegian geologists were quite clear that they did not believe that there would be oil or gas on the Norwegian continental shelf. Nevertheless, following a successful survey in Holland, US oil companies got permission to conduct geological surveys in 1962. At this stage Phillips Petroleum applied for exclusive rights to search for oil and gas in the Norwegian continental shelf. Instead Norway, following a declaration of the rights given in the Geneva convention in 1958, formed the Act of 21 June 1963 No. 12, which declared "The right to submarine natural resources is vested in the State" and that "The King may grant Norwegian or foreign persons ... to explore or exploit the natural resources." Following this law Norway divided the continental shelf in blocks and invited companies to apply for licenses.

In 1966 the first rig began drilling activities for Esso, but it was not before 23rd December 1969 that Phillips Petroleum discovered Ekofisk, the largest oil field ever found and in 1971 the first oil was produced. The field also contained gas, which later were piped to the continent.

In 1971 the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) prepared principles for the oil and gas industry, later referred to as the "10 oil commandments"4, which formed the basis for the future Norwegian politics on the sector:

  1. National supervision and control must be ensured for all operations on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).
  2. Petroleum discoveries must be exploited in a way which makes Norway as independent as possible of others for its supplies of crude oil.
  3. New industry will be developed on the basis of petroleum.
  4. The development of an oil industry must take necessary account of existing industrial activities and the protection of nature and the environment.
  5. Flaring of exploitable gas on the NCS must not be accepted except during brief periods of testing.
  6. Petroleum from the NCS must as a general rule be landed in Norway, except in those cases where socio-political considerations dictate a different solution.
  7. The state must become involved at all appropriate levels and contribute to a coordination of Norwegian interests in Norway's petroleum industry as well as the creation of an integrated oil community, which set its sights both nationally and internationally.
  8. A state oil company will be established which can look after the government's commercial interests and pursue appropriate collaboration with domestic and foreign oil interests.
  9. A pattern of activities must be selected north of the 62nd parallel, which reflects the special socio-political conditions prevailing in that part of the country.
  10. Large Norwegian petroleum discoveries could present new tasks for Norway's foreign policy.

In 1972 Den norske stats oljeselskap a.s (Statoil), the state-owned oil company, and the industry-regulating organization, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), were established. The latter was later divided into Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and Energy and the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). PSA is organized under the Ministry of Labour (NPD under the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy) and has the responsibility for health, safety and working environment on the continental shelf.

In the beginning the state owned 50 per cent in each production license. Later Stortinget decided that this proportion could be increased or reduced in each case.

Statfjord was founded in 1974—one of the world's largest offshore oil discoveries.

Midgard, part of Åsgard off mid-Norway, was discovered in 1981, and Snøhvit gas field in the Barents Sea was discovered in 1984. [Snøhvit later ranks as the world's northernmost producing field, and utilizes the longest multiphase flow transport system (unprocessed gas, water and lighter hydrocarbons are sent together through the same pipeline) on the planet.] In this year it was also decided to take a proportion of Statoil's holdings in a number of fields transferred to a special account—later to become a part of the oil fund.

In 1986 the Sleipner East and Troll field developments were initiated, making it possible for Norway to become one of the most important energy exporters to the European market.

In 1992 the installation of the Haltenpipe gas line between Heidrun and Tjeldbergodden in Mid-Norway (245 km long) was approved and completed in 1996.

In 1997 Ormen Lange was discovered and came on stream in 2007. This field is positioned in deep water, 850 – 1100m, which initiated new development solutions.

Norway has always imposed strict environmental regulations on the petroleum industry; for example, permanent gas flaring was prohibited on the oil fields from the beginning and later Norway introduced carbon tax which made the industry take a number of steps to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.  The Ekofisk Bravo platform had the first uncontrolled blowout in 1977 and this incident initiated strict safety and environmental regulations on the Norwegian continental shelf. The Alexander L Kielland disaster in 1980, which killed 123 people, necessitated steps, which in turn has made Norway into a world leader for safety. 5


1. NPD's website, Publications, "Fakta 2013",  The petroleum sector – Norway's largest industry

2. Ernst & Young, "The NCS – a bundle of opportunities", ONS Norway August 19th 2013

3. NPD's website, Publications, "Fakta 2013", The petroleum sector – Norway's largest industry

4., White paper no. 28 (2010 – 2011), "An industry for the future – Norway's petroleum activities", Chapter 1 (unofficial translation of chapter 1)

5. NPD website, Publications, "Facts 2013", Norwegian Petroleum History, The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association's website, Facts, "Petroleum History"

To view full article click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.