Is "Oil-Norway" Ready for a Transition?
Is the oil industry able to adjust in a time of low oil prices and increased focus on environmentally friendly solutions?
Researchers from the Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture at the University of Oslo have during recent years worked on the SIVAC project, where they have researched the Norwegian supplier industry from the oil sector. The focus has been on the industry's innovative power and ability to adjust, in a time of low oil prices and increasing focus on environmentally friendly solutions.
Recently, representatives from Statoil, Aker Solutions, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, and others from the Norwegian oil sector, gathered at the University of Oslo for on the concluding seminar of the project.
For the occasion, professor Charles Sabel from Columbia Law School in New York held an opening lecture. Sabel talked about vertical disintegration in the industry and how this is the result of an uncertainty about technological development. Several researchers then presented the work that has been done for SIVAC during the recent years, and the subsequent findings from this work.
Project Manager for SIVAC, Taran Mari Thune, presented results on how supplier companies innovate. The findings suggest that the sector has innovative gains through research and development, but primarily through collaboration with users and through practical implementation of projects. Suppliers in the oil industry have an ability to adapt fast as a result of the sector's cooperation model. At the same time, studies show significant challenges with radical change due to the unique model of innovation. The model is very favourable for the suppliers, but also locks them into a “captive” relationship with the buyers, the oil companies.
The next post came from Helge Ryggvik, who compared the Norwegian and Brazilian oil industry. Norway and Brazil began building their oil sectors at approximately the same time. Despite this, the Norwegian supplier industry has had significantly more success than Brazilian. The comparison clarifies a successful policy model in Norway, and exemplifies a state’s impact in the industry.
Researcher Allan Dahl Andersen held the last lecture of the day. This contribution to the SIVAC project focused on actors from the Norwegian oil sector who have tried to enter into new markets with their products or services. Dahl Andersen said that many of the actors who made such a conversion successfully had been early movers in terms of transition. The project shows that challenges related to diversification to new markets are not primarily about technology, but about business conditions.
The seminar was concluded with a panel debate between six representatives who are heavily involved in the oil sector. The panel consisted of Kjartan Pedersen from Aker Solutions, Hanne Wigum from Statoil, Hans Petter Bøe Rebo from Federation of Norwegian Industries, Ole Andreas Engen from the University of Stavanger, Werner Karlsson from Norwegian Energy Partners and Anne Mette Hilmen from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. They all agreed that oil has an important role to play in Norwegian industry to come, and that the supplier industry would be able to transition to new assignments if the contracts were there.
Charles Sabel from United States concluded that Norway was fascinating, as he felt that the state spoke industry's interests and the industry spoke human interests.