Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents -

Pres­i­dent of Thai-Nor­we­gian Cham­ber of Com­merce, Aina Eidsvik writes on chal­lenges for the oil and gas sec­tor.

Afew weeks ago, I met a friend who is work­ing for an­other Nor­we­gian oil ser­vice com­pany. He said; “the mar­ket is crazy – we have to turn down clients”. Where­upon I quickly replied; “yes I know, we had to im­ple­ment a queue­ing sys­tem re­cently”. I`m afraid we were day­dream­ing and while both of us are work­ing for com­pa­nies that are do­ing well, there have been re­duc­tions over the last years.

Those who have been in the oil in­dus­try for a while have been through a few up- and down-turns and there is a ten­dency to think that the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is tem­po­rary, the oil price will soon in­crease and ev­ery­thing will get back to what we thought was nor­mal. Sev­eral oil an­a­lysts have re­as­sured us that lower petroleum in­vest­ments will lead to lower sup­ply, which will bring the oil prices up again.

While the oil price might re­cover, I think the in­dus­try has changed for­ever this time and many jobs will be lost per­ma­nently due to nec­es­sary re­struc­tur­ing and pro­duc­tiv­ity im­prove­ments. The oil in­dus­try will be there for many years to come but maybe not as we knew it. This gives risks and op­por­tu­ni­ties to both the oil in­dus­try it­self and to oth­ers.

As we see in this edi­tion of the Busi­ness Re­view, Nor­way is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing an in­ter­est­ing coun­try for for­eign in­vest­ments – es­pe­cially from China. Nor­way has a well-ed­u­cated work force, it has for sev­eral years been among the top 10 of 189 coun­tries in the World Bank’s Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness rank­ing, it is po­lit­i­cally sta­ble and it has low cor­rup­tion. Set­ting up busi­ness in Nor­way is quick and af­ford­able. A weak Nor­we­gian cur­rency com­bined with a high sup­ply of skilled engi­neers makes Nor­way at­trac­tive for many ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy in­dus­tries.

So why leave it to the for­eign­ers to start up busi­ness in Nor­way? De­spite hav­ing a well-ed­u­cated work­force who are in­de­pen­dent and em­pow­ered, Nor­way has tra­di­tion­ally had a low rate of start-ups and few en­trepreneurs. We have been far be­hind many other coun­tries in Europe and Asia. This is about to change and it`s in­spir­ing to read the ar­ti­cles about Nor­we­gian com­pa­nies suc­ceed­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally within waste treat­ment, re­new­able en­er­gies, seafood, LNG and evo­lu­tion of Cor­po­rate Gov­er­nance.

Other in­dus­tries have been re­luc­tant to take on em­ploy­ees from the oil in­dus­try with the as­sump­tion that they will leave once the oil is up. I strongly rec­om­mend that they change their view and see it as an op­por­tu­nity to get in highly com­pe­tent per­son­nel that was not avail­able be­fore. Give them chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties to make sure they stay, re­gard­less of the oil price. Sin­cerely, Aina Eidsvik Pres­i­dent Thai-Nor­we­gian Cham­ber of Com­merce


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