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The petroleum sector: Interplay between governance and industry

Insight into the interplay between policy, economics and petroleum activities is critical for Norway as a major oil and gas-exporting nation. Over the past six years, activities under the Programme on Social Science Petroleum Research (PETROSAM) at the Research Council of Norway have resulted in new knowledge in this field.

 

Now drawing to a close, the PETROSAM programme has given Norwegian social-science researchers the opportunity to delve deeply into the social context related to petroleum activities, providing government authorities, investors and the industry itself with new knowledge.

“The PETROSAM programme has made it possible for us to fill key knowledge needs in the petroleum sector,” asserts Fridtjof Unander, Executive Director of the Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment of the Research Council. “This programme has given us a wider understanding of the interaction between industry, policy and economics, as well as of certain geopolitical perspectives in petroleum activities.”

(Photo: Mari Solerød)  

Researchers, industrial players and analysts convened for discussion and knowledge exchange at the concluding conference of the PETROSAM programme. Shown above : Leif Magne Meling of Statoil in discussion with Willy Olsen and Sjur Bratland from Norwegian Oil and Gas Partners (INTSOK). (Photo: Mari Solerød)

Focus on international trends

What happened in the petroleum-producing countries of the Gulf during the Arab Spring? What will the outlook be for Norway and the Norwegian continental shelf when price levels rise domestically and the supply of unconventional gas from abroad increases? What do we need to know about Russia as a petroleum-producing power under Vladimir Putin?

Research under the PETROSAM programme has supplied the authorities, industrial players and investors with useful information on international trends.

The national budget proposal for 2013 recommends that funding is allocated for a new programme to succeed the PETROSAM programme.

“Expertise on economic and social-science issues related to petroleum activities is essential - especially in the political arena when we are laying the foundation for how to govern our society,” stated Per Rune Henriksen, State Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, at the recently-held concluding conference for the PETROSAM programme.

 

Photo: Kari Druglimo-Nygård 

The PETROSAM programme has been an important, successful initiative, sums up Executive Director of the Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment of the Research Council, Fridtjof Unander. (Photo: Kari Druglimo-Nygård)

 

Vital role

An evaluation of the PETROSAM programme was recently carried out by Damvad, a research-based analysis consultancy company. The evaluation report concluded that research activities funded under the programme have been visible in public debate, and that the programme has helped to establish a broader, more accessible social-science knowledge base. The PETROSAM programme has provided part of the foundation on which the Norwegian petroleum authorities and petroleum industry players are now devising their policies and strategies.

The PETROSAM programme will conclude at the end of the year after having been in operation since 2007. The Research Council is pleased that the activities carried out in this field will be continued in a new programme.
“The petroleum industry is undergoing rapid development domestically and abroad. As such, it is a wise move to continue building upon research efforts in the field while also ensuring that other social-science research groups join in and address issues involving the petroleum sector,” says Fridtjof Unander.
 

 

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