USA: OTC opening dinner speech
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to all Texans on the tragedy that recently hit the City of West. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who were hit by the terrible explosion in the fertilizer plant on April 18th.
The Crown Princess and I have very much been looking forward to our trip to the United States and we are very happy to now be here at the Offshore Technology Conference -- to join close to 100 000 participants from around hundred countries. And to be here at this beautiful stadium that is made up tonight – I understand it is a below sea level- experience. It is rather fantastic to see. Since 1969 OTC has been the world’s foremost meeting point for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection. Policy makers, investors and companies from all over the world have come here looking for new knowledge and research - to make decisions and to do business.
The importance of this conference is highlighted by the fact that 1.3 billion people – still in 2013 – do not have access to electricity. The world needs more energy to develop, reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for billions. Oil and gas will remain an important part of the energy mix in the future. At the same time, our climate is showing signs of change that go beyond natural variability.
We must produce energy as efficiently and sustainably as possible.
We must take a parallel approach to dealing with the growing demand and reducing emissions.
This is a global challenge that all oil- and gas producing countries need to face together, as one global community.
For Norway, participating at OTC this year marks an anniversary. 40 years ago, in 1973, right before I was born, the first Norwegian pavilion at OTC was opened by my father. This year, the Norwegian pavilion is the largest of the national pavilions.
In 1973, Norway was a very young oil and gas nation. The first large discovery on the Norwegian continental shelf had started production only a couple of years earlier. At that time, Norway had no experience in upstream oil and gas. US oil companies and contractors participated from the very beginning.
In 2010 it was our turn to assist the US. More than 30 Norwegian companies were involved in the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The relations between the US and Norway are strong and long lasting. Some thousand years ago, the Norwegian explorer and adventurer Leiv Eriksson crossed the Atlantic. In 1969 the Ekofisk field – the first commercial oil field in Norway´s part of the North Sea, was discovered by Phillips Petroleum.
So here we are: A Norwegian discovered America – or that is what we like to think - and an American oil company discovered Norwegian oil.
I hope and believe that the OTC once again will prove to be a valuable arena for exchanging new technologies, ideas, problem solving – and further develop international collaboration.
Thank you very much!