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Midway seminar: Exploring innovation in the petroleum industry - issues and suggestions for analyses

Norway's poor innovation rankings is usually explained by the high presence of oil and gas companies in the industry structure. Nevertheless, the Norwegian petroleum industry is regarded highly innovative - this contradiction seem to be the result of a different way of organising innovation processes compared to other industries.

Photo of Erlend Osland Simensen

Erlend Osland Simensen

Photo: UiO

Working title of PhD:

Mapping the supplier industry

The main purpose of Simensen's PhD thesis is to challenge the notion that low- and medium-tech (LMT) industries, such as the petroleum industry, are not concerned with innovation to a large extent. This is not a new stance within the innovation studies but he aims to show this empirically by developing methodologies that go beyond conventional metrics of innovation. His thesis is part of the SIVAC project - a research project at the TIC centre that aims to develop a new approach to how value creation in the Norwegian oil and gas sector can remain high in a situation of decreasing oil exploration, increased competition on the gas market and possible political restrictions on further expansion.

The Norwegian oil and gas industry is both acknowledged as a technology-intensive industry and at the same time considered to be part of the LMT family of industries. This contradiction makes this industry appropriate as a case for analysing innovation in LMT. Another argument for such an analysis is the bias that innovation studies has shown in focusing mainly on high tech industries in previous empirical work. LMT industries are found to account for the vast majority of the world economy, and the O&G industries is one of the largest industries in the world. Since innovation studies originally is an attempt to explain the residual of economic Growth, the substantial core of the economy should be focus of empirical analyses to a much larger extent than is the case today. Furthermore, to understand what will be "the next thing after oil", a more throughout understanding of the strongest actors in the current regime is needed. This has high relevance for both Norwegian policy makers, as well as everyone who are concerned about the future of energy production.

Erlend Osland Simensen is a PhD research fellow at TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Culture, working in the SIVAC project, funded by the Research Council of Norway. This seminar marks his midway evaluation. The seminar is open to everyone, and the manuscript can be obtained by sending an e-mail to tina.nass[AT]

Supervisors: Associate professor Taran Thune, TIK.

Commentators: Professor Jan Fagerberg, TIK, and Professor Amir Sasson, BI Norwegian Business School.


Tags: Innovation, Sustainability
Published Jan. 9, 2017 2:38 PM - Last modified Jan. 24, 2019 3:30 PM