History of Norwegian Petroleum Exploration and its impact on Norwegian Geosciences

Extended Abstract for presentation at EAGE Meeting Paris 13/6 2017

History of Norwegian Petroleum Exploration and its impact on Norwegian Geosciences by Knut Bjørlykke, University of Oslo


Before petroleum exploration in Norway started in 1965, geology was mostly an academic discipline with few professional geologists. The mining industry was in decline and did not contribute much to research in Norway. The Norwegian offshore was opened for exploration in 1965, but its potential for oil and gas could not be predicted before the first well was drilled in 1966. The detailed history of the Norwegian shelf and the petroleum production and exploration is available from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (npd.no). The discovery of the Ekofisk Field in 1970 made it clear that Norway would become a major oil producing country. From 1971 the government introduced a special funding for petroleum related teaching and research in Norway and this was also supported by oil companies. A national oil industry and petroleum policy required an independent expertise in geology, geophysics and engineering. Petroleum related research reached a high level in many disciplines. There was a massive recruitment of geoscientists from Norway and from abroad. Oil production peaked in 2002, but oil and gas production is still high. Petroleum related geoscience in Norway has strengthened other geoscience disciplines and also fundamental research. In recent years environmental geology and storage of CO2 have become important.

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