According to an EU observer report, Norway currently boasts of ninety (90) oil and gas-producing fields, and this number is expected to rise above one hundred and thirty (130) within the next few years. Norway also stands tall as the 14th biggest producer of oil in the world, with a sterling economy and low unemployment rates. The oil and gas industry is thriving.
In 2020 alone, oil and gas contributed over 40% of the total value of Norway’s exports to the international market. Norway is the biggest producer of oil in Western Europe. The Nordic country is currently looking to explore new prospect zones within its borders in a bid to increase oil production and contribute to meeting the global demand for oil and energy.
In this article, we would take a closer look at the oil and gas industry in Norway while highlighting the biggest oil companies operating in Norway.
Oil Industry in Norway: A Closer Look
In the 1960s, North Sea Oil was first discovered in Norwegian waters. In May 1963, Norway proclaimed sovereign rights over all natural resources in its part of the North Sea. However, exploration didn’t start till July 19, 1966, when Ocean Traveler drilled its first hole. Wikipedia reports that initial exploration was fruitless until Ocean Viking found oil on August 21, 1969.
This discovery of oil further made it clear that there were large oil reserves in the North Sea. Large reserves of natural gas were also found in the North Sea. In 1972, Norway voted against joining the European Union (EU), establishing its national energy policy. It was within this period that the Norwegian government started Statoil, its own oil company.
Norway’s journey to oil exploration and production was not void of challenges. The Norwegian authorities soon discovered that there were technical difficulties associated with the area. Norwegian companies had to invest heavily in building the sort of capacities that would enable them to explore and produce oil better. As a result, engineering and construction companies began to spring up in the region, especially Stavanger and western Oslo.
The oil industry in Norway has grown in leaps, accounting for about 40% of the country’s export value. The Norwegian government has also opened up the industry to allow foreign investors and companies to operate and thrive within its borders.
Relevance of Oil to the Norwegian Economy
Since the discovery of oil in Norway, the natural resource quickly became and remains the country’s major source of income. Oil is also Norway’s biggest natural resource, followed by natural gas.
Before the discovery of oil, Norway’s GDP per capita was much lower than the average in Western economies. Oil exploration, production, and exportation changed the game for Norway, which now ranks among the top economies in the West. Oil is by far the highest single GDP contributor to the wealth of Norway.
Norway has one of the lowest unemployment rates globally and employment within the oil and gas space contributes to this. Equinor ASA, one of the biggest oil companies in Norway, had over 18,000 employees as of March 2020. Both nationals and foreigners have been gainfully employed thanks to the oil industry in Norway.
A couple of foreign-owned oil companies have operations in Norway. This foreign investment is vital to the Norwegian economy. It has created room for professionals from other countries to mingle with nationals for better value creation while improving production quality and quantity.
Biggest Oil Companies Operating in Norway
As the biggest producer of oil in Western Europe, Norway plays host to big oil companies. The revenue of these oil companies is in billions, providing employment opportunities and fast-tracking development in host cities.
Below is a list of the biggest oil companies operating in Norway:
1. Equinor ASA
Formerly known as Statoil and StatoilHydro, Equinor is a Norwegian state-owned multinational energy company that was founded in 1972. Headquartered in Stavanger, the company got listed on Oslo and New York stock exchanges in 2001.
The company’s goal is to turn natural resources into energy for people and progress for society. Equinor ASA is involved in the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas, wind, and solar power solutions. The company has its presence in over 30 countries with more than 21,000 people under her payroll. The Norwegian state owns a 67% share of the company while the rest is public stock.
To expand its energy production capacity, strengthen energy security, and fight adverse climate change, Equinor is currently investing in renewables such as offshore wind, solar, hydrogen, and carbon capture, and storage. The company’s revenue in 2020 was put at 45,818 USD million.
2. Aker BP AS
In terms of production, Aker is one of the largest independent listed oil companies in Europe. Aker BP’s vision is to be the leading exploration and production company in the Norwegian oil and gas industry. The company hopes to achieve this by producing natural resources with low emissions and cost while creating jobs and value for its owners and the broader Norwegian society.
With its headquarters in Fornebu, outside Oslo, Aker BP has offices in Stavanger, Trondheim, Harstad, and Sandnessjøen, and is listed on the Oslo stock exchange. Aker was founded in 1971 and has about 1,735 employees.
3. Total S.A
According to Statista, as of March 2020, Total E&P Norge ranked as the second leading oil company in the extraction of crude oil and natural gas in Norway in terms of turnover. The company earned this spot with a turnover of roughly 35 billion Norwegian kroner.
Total began operations in Norway in 1965 and has over 107 employees in Norway. The company is involved in exploration and production, refining and chemicals, gas and power, marketing and services, and shipping and trading.
4. Exxon Mobil Corporation
Exxon Mobil is arguably one of the largest publicly traded international oil and gas companies in the world. The company uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs. ExxonMobil’s operation in Norway includes companies such as Esso Norge AS, which is an affiliate of Exxon Mobil Corporation USA.
Exxon Mobil was established in 1893 in Norway, making it the oldest energy company in the country. The company’s refinery at Slagentangen started in 1961 and can process 6 million tons of crude oil per year.
5. Lime Petroleum
Lime Petroleum was established in 2012 and quickly rose to become one of the fastest-growing oil exploration companies in Norway. The company has grown a portfolio of exploration licenses on the Norwegian Continental shelf.
Lime Petroleum focuses on driving exploration through infrastructure. The company’s goal is to further grow its portfolio through licensing rounds and farm-ins and to participate in one to three exploration wells per year.
6. Lundin Energy Norway
Lundin Energy Norway was established in 2004 as a subsidiary of Lundin Energy. The company which started with 9 employees has now grown into a workforce of over 400 employees. Lundin started as an exploration company but has now developed into an experienced developer and operating operator.
Lundin Energy is committed to exploring better ways of extracting and producing oil and gas in Norway. It aims to achieve through research, innovation, partnerships, and collaborations.
Norway currently has about 90 oil and gas producing fields and this number is expected to rise to more than 130 in a few years. If you are looking to migrate and work in Norway, consider a job in the oil sector. Visit our career resources page for Best Norwegian Oil and Gas Recruitment Agencies and other helpful articles, guides, and tips.