Opening Speech ONS 2022
Ladies and gentlemen,
When my father attended the very first Offshore Northern Seas conference here in Stavanger in 1974, the spirit was optimistic and the future promising. Having recently discovered the underwater treasure that would bring so much welfare for so many people, we were reaching for the stars.
Almost 50 years later, looking at the state of the world and of our planet, a more pessimistic view of the future is spreading.
However, I choose to be a cautious optimist. Not only because I think I should be – but because there is good reason for it. Some of the reasons will be highlighted right here over these coming days.
Therefore I am glad to be back at the ONS.
We need hope, we need the brightest minds with the best ideas and we need bold decision makers to help us get the planet back into balance.
Since the seventies, ONS has been a vibrant meeting place for the energy industry and governing institutions. Here, the opportunities, responsibilities and challenges related to the production of energy have been addressed.
I have had the pleasure of following ONS through decades – from the age solely of fossil fuels to its more recent focus on renewable energy sources.
And today the energy debate is at the heart of our most complex challenges.
The discovery of oil and gas in Norway and the way we as a nation handled our new-found resources, has over the last 50 years provided us with welfare, prosperity and security. Several important institutions have helped building the industrial culture that we are so proud of.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, The Petroleum Safety Authority and Equinor on their 50th anniversaries this year. You have all been instrumental in the development of Norway as an energy nation.
Trust is this year’s theme at ONS. How can we continue building trust in these unstable times? Today we experience that core values – such as trust and dialogue to seek common solutions and consensus – are being questioned.
But trust is what connects us to each other and to society. It is a pre-requisite for collaboration. Trust is the essence of sustainable business.
The urgent green energy shift is not only about limiting the effects of climate change. It is also becoming a core issue of global security.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has underlined this fact. We look forward to hearing President Zelensky’s perspectives later.
Mr President, Norway supports your brave resistance – and all of us hope soon to see the end of the suffering of the Ukranian people.
Energy scarcity is a global reality. We need to meet this challenge without putting an additional burden on the coming generations.
Generations before us didn’t have the knowledge, technology, or opportunity that we have today. As we unite behind the science, we now know very well what is at stake.
Leaders of the world gathered in Glasgow at COP26 last year to set goals, to find a path forward and to raise the ambitions. The climate goals are important on our way towards a greener future.
But to deliver on the targets, we are all dependent on you who are gathered in this room: The energy industry, bright minds and bold decision makers – to make the change possible.
As we all know, the energy industry is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses. But the people in this very same industry also hold the solutions for the future – with all their knowledge, skills and experience.
It will not be possible to achieve our climate goals without innovation, investment and new technologies providing the world with affordable, secure, and clean energy. Green innovation is the key to unlock the solutions needed for sustainable development – for all.
This is the place, this is the time, and we are the ones with the means to actually make the change.
Because – as Abraham Lincoln once said – the best way to predict the future is to create it.
With these words, I declare the ONS Conference 2022 open.