This list provided an overall foundation for managing the Norwegian petroleum industry, and certain of its “commandments” acquired major significance in developing and operating Statfjord. Ensuring national management and control – a key concern – was achieved through a “tripartite” model where the Ministry of Industry (the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy from 1978) exercised central control, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) had responsibility for regulation and state oil company Statoil looked after the state’s commercial interests.
Norway as a nation would make itself independent of crude oil imports, in part by ensuring that all petroleum resources from the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) were landed on domestic soil. That requirement played a key part in discussions on landing gas from Statfjord, and was a contributory factor in deciding to route the main gas line from the field to Kårstø north of Stavanger. This Statpipe facility was the first pipeline to cross the deepwater Norwegian Trench. Other “commandments” called for new petroleum-based industry to be developed, and for government support to develop an integrated Norwegian oil community.
Statoil as well as the other domestic oil companies, Norsk Hydro and Saga Petroleum, received favourable treatment in the award of licences on the NCS. The state company was also given a range of political duties, such as managing national resources, promoting Norwegian industrial and expertise development, supporting job creation and backing regional development. Flaring of natural gas was also declared to be unacceptable except for brief periods of testing. That forced the oil companies to find other solutions. The consequence for Statfjord was that produced gas had to be injected back into the reservoir until a pipeline was in place. That in turn helped to boost the field’s oil recovery factor, while the gas could later be produced again and sold in the international market place. The producing life of the field was thereby extended.
The“10 oil commandments”
- National supervision and control must be ensured for all operations on the NCS.
- Petroleum discoveries must be exploited in a way which makes Norway as independent as possible of others for its supplies of crude oil.
- New industry will be developed on the basis of petroleum.
- The development of an oil industry must take necessary account of existing industrial activities and the protection of nature and the environment.
- Flaring of exploitable gas on the NCS must not be accepted except during brief periods of testing
- 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.
- 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 sets its sights both nationally and internationally.
- 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.
- 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.
- Large Norwegian petroleum discoveries could present new tasks for Norway’s foreign policy
Stafsnes, T. (1984). Ilandføring Av Petroleum Fra Statfjord : Analyse Av En Iverksettingsprosess, p 2.
UK block 211/19 and 211/25 awarded to ConocoBrent discovered