Opening Speech ONS 2016
Ladies and gentlemen
it’s good to be back in Stavanger, and at the ONS!
Change seems to be one of the few constant factors in a transforming world. Therefore, this year’s theme, transition, really fits today’s realities. Many of you are obviously in the middle of this. Changes in the energy sector have considerable impact on the world as a whole. We are all affected – because much of our welfare and development is based on energy. In times like these, it is therefore of great importance to make transitions; from the current situation to a more stable and desirable one. New market situations and a necessary change to more sustainability requires bold leadership. I am glad to see that ONS is addressing environmental issues in different ways this week, and I am sure the Clean Energy Park will be an important arena towards a new future.
Almost every Norwegian knows someone in the oil and gas industry. Therefore, we also know someone who is affected from the tough times in the business. This morning I met with some of them. Turning worries into potential, trouble into prosperity requires significant skills and capacity. Abilities you in this room possess. These skills will be even more valuable in the years to come, because:
According to the OECD, the Ocean Economy is a vast container of opportunities. The maritime sector has of course a great potential here. This is an industry that has innovation as its second nature. This region on the Norwegian west coast is a vivid example: Being a leading city in the fish– and canning industry, Stavanger had to adjust to a new reality in the 1970s. Thanks to a suitable infrastructure and leaders who saw a brighter future, the development of the oil and gas industry made a difference to a whole nation.
This year marks the 50th anniversary for the drilling of the very first well on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Today, nearly 6.000 wells later and with approximately 900 billion American dollars in the Government Pension Fund, the Norwegian energy industry has earned a reputation of safe operations, a strong environmental focus and tremendous technological advancements.
And the secret to this success is of course people.
Because: Where would the industry and society have been without dedicated, positive, future-thinking, hands-on women and men with ideas and drive? The people in this industry, many of whom are here this week, solved problems where the answer was not given. They had to invent. To collaborate, build together, trust instincts – and try, test, fail and try again to succeed.
In times of change, the industry must use this readiness to develop new solutions and technologies. We need to stay innovative in order to evolve and adapt to the new market realities. Meetingplaces like the ONS bring together people from around the world to share experiences and learn from each other.
So - reach for the stars – or at least Mars: Norwegian drilling technology is now used in the space industry – by the Mars Institute right here in Stavanger. This is only one example. There are many more.
You, the people in this room, will have great impact on how this industry meets the future. I am confident you will have fruitful and interesting discussions on how the business can meet the next decades, and on how we can ensure security of energy supply in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.
I wish you every success, and I hereby declare ONS 2016 open.