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Celebrated French connections

November 18, 2003, 09:00 CET

French-Norwegian connections in the oil and gas market were celebrated at a conference in Oslo on Friday. Hilde Myrberg, who is senior vice president in Hydro Energy, traced the connections right back to the establishment of Hydro in 1905. "Without French capital there might never have been a Norsk Hydro," she said.

The Norwegian Chamber of Commerce held the conference on French-Norwegian energy cooperation in Bygdøy allé 2.

Speakers from Total, Gaz de France, Hydro and Statoil were introduced by the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Einar Steensnæs. He took the opportunity to highlight the strong links with France, which is the second largest purchaser of Norwegian natural gas.

Steensnæs drew attention to the fact that French companies have played an important part from the start in the development of operations on the Norwegian continental shelf, and that gas deliveries to France have been a factor in the development of the large gas fields.

Lasting links

Hilde Myrberg, who is senior vice president in Hydro Energy, referred to connections that date back significantly further than the oil and gas collaboration.

“Hydro’s French connections date back to 1905, when French investors put up NOK 2.5 million of a total share capital of 7.5 million,” said Myrberg.

She also explained to the participants that it was through the collaboration with the French companies in the Petronord group that Hydro gained a foothold in the enormous Ekofisk field, and later developed to become a leading player on the Norwegian continental shelf.

“Working with French companies gave us access to technical expertise. We have since enjoyed collaboration on the Frigg field and in connection with the transfer of operatorship of the Heimdal centre from Elf to Hydro. We work with French companies overseas also, for example in Angola, Russia and Libya,” said Myrberg.

She referred to Ormen Lange as an important supplier to France, also in the future.

“Ormen Lange is our next step in gas deliveries to Europe. Although the UK will be the main recipient of gas from this field, Hydro has always been interested in flexibility of deliveries and a good deal of this gas will also be sold to France.”