Norway Proposes Increase in Petroleum Research Funds

It has been suggested that the funds for petroleum research be increased by over 60 percent in next year's budget, says Thorhild Widvey, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy.

Experience shows that focused, long-term commitment to research and development is a necessary ingredient in the development of the oil and gas sector. The technology efforts have been decisive in building up a competitive Norwegian based supply and services industry, says Minister Widvey.

The Government proposed to allocate 222.3 million Norwegian kroner (NOK) to petroleum research over the Ministry's budget in 2005. This is an increase of NOK 84, 8 million from 2004. The Government proposes that NOK 28 million from the returns of the Fund for Research and Innovation are to be earmarked to petroleum research. In addition comes a proportion of the remaining returns from the Fund, which in 2004 amounts to NOK 42 million.

It is vital that we maintain a strong competence cluster within this sector in Norway. The Government wants to cooperate with the industry and the different competence institutions to secure long term profitable development of the petroleum resources. Figures from the Norwegian Research Council show that one public krone releases three kroner in finances from the industry to applied research and project orientated technology development. Accordingly, the industry plays a very important role also at the research side, concludes Minister Widvey. Significant increase in PETROMAKS and DEMO 2000

In 2004 the large program PETROMAKS was established by The Research Council. The Government proposes a significant growth in the budget appropriations for this program in 2005. The total commitment for PETROMAKS will with that amount to approximately 180 million NOK. Through PETROMAKS special emphasis will be put on research related to increased oil recovery and more efficient exploration.

An increased commitment to project orientated technology development is also an important part of the Government's effort to increase the value creation coming from the petroleum sector, and the allocation for the DEMO 2000 program is proposed increased by NOK 20 million to NOK 50 million in 2005.

DEMO 2000 is important for the development of new technological solutions and products, both for the Norwegian continental shelf and for export.

The Government's innovation commitment

Research and development in the petroleum sector is also important for innovation in other industry sectors and an important part of the Government's innovation plan. Increased activity on the NCS is reflected directly in more contracts for the supply and services sector, and gives cross-over effects in the whole country.

Strong, well established industries and competence clusters are among the most important factors in developing new industries and products. The petroleum industry is positioned in the front row.