Arctic oil gets new research center

Arctic energy at Melkøya on the Barents Sea coast. Photo: Øyvind Hagen/Statoil

The new center will deliver high quality research of relevance to the oil industry in the Arctic, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe says.


The center will be located in the northern part of the country and work closely with other institutions both in Norway and abroad, a press release from the ministry reads.

The initiative was presented on Tuesday at the Arctic Energy Agenda, a meeting of top energy representatives from a number of countries and companies. At the meeting, the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe also presented key facts about the 22nd Norwegian License Round, which includes as many as 78 new blocks in the Barents Sea.

“The expanding petroleum activities in the High North will be strengthened with the development of knowledge and new technology”, the minister says. “Our objective is that academic environments and industry in the North cooperate about the generation of knowledge linked with Arctic challenges”, he adds.

The Arctic Energy Agenda included a number of political representatives, among them U.S Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ken Salazar and his deputy David Hayes, as well as ministers from Canada and Iceland. Ambassadors from all the Nordic countries, as well as Russia, were present, along with representatives of companies like ConocoPhillips, BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Gazprom Neft and Statoil.

It is not known exactly where the center will be established, however the cities of Bodø and Tromsø are both likely alternatives. The institution will be co-financed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with corporate interests.