Signs of increased optimism on the Norwegian continental shelf

September 4, 2003, 10:00 CEST

"Optimism about future activities on the Norwegian continental shelf will increase if the recommendations of Kon-Kraft's study are followed and the petroleum tax is lowered," says Lars Christian Alsvik, who has just been appointed as the new head of Exploration and Development Norway.

The new head of Exploration and Development (E&D) believes a reduction in the taxation rate on petroleum operations is essential if Hydro and the other operators on the Norwegian shelf are to reverse the present negative trend and increase exploration for oil and gas.

"There are still significant resources in the shelf that have not been discovered, but many of these are not profitable to explore at present. If the authorities lower the petroleum tax, and give access to new exploration areas, this will stimulate increased exploration and the oil industry as a whole," says Alsvik.

He points out that the employees in E&D have lots of interesting tasks to look forward to in the next few years, but adds that the consequences of Kon-Kraft's report will play an important part in future developments. In any case Alsvik envisages a situation where discoveries are smaller and where E&D focuses on an appropriate level of exploration close to existing infrastructure.

"We will have to think and work differently. Every single idea that can contribute to overall value creation will be even more important. If we are to succeed in the Norwegian offshore sector and remain an innovative and competitive company, we must realize more of the potential within every single employee. Our employees must take even greater responsibility for ensuring that the solutions we choose are economically responsible," he continues.

It is E&D's responsibility to create new activities for Hydro on the shelf through research, exploration and other business development. The unit has many challenging tasks ahead:

"We will do what we can to contribute to a thorough and balanced debate on the question of taxation and opening up of new exploration areas, and will endeavour to give an accurate picture of the situation facing the industry. The organization is also working towards the 18th licensing round, and will do what it can to gain interesting new licences. We will also work together with Hydro Technology and Projects to ensure the best possible development basis for the Ormen Lange project," he adds.

Alsvik was in charge of Portfolio and Business Development before his appointment as new head of E&D. Since he joined Hydro in 1989, he has mainly worked with gas supply and transport and on business development in connection with Hydro's operator fields on the Norwegian continental shelf, and he was project manager for the plan for development and operation for the Fram Vest field.

Before joining Hydro, Alsvik had worked for both Statoil and Kværner Engineering. He was also in contact with Hydro in 1984, in connection with preparing his dissertation for the Norwegian Institute of Technology at Hydro's research centre at Herøya.