A hot industry in the cold north
KONGSBERG in the high north: With technology for extreme conditions, KONGSBERG plays an essential role in the development of the northern areas. "Licence to operate is absolutely decisive for commercial activities in the high north," claims Even Aas, Executive Vice President in the KONGSBERG group.
"There are three important factors to be taken into consideration and viewed as a whole; the environment, extraction of oil and gas and fishing," continues Mr. Aas.
The high north represents the most important target area for the Norwegian government's foreign policy. The goal is to generate sustainable growth and development in the northern area by increasing the level of international collaboration on resources, environmental management and research.
Even Aas, Executive Vice President
KONGSBERG has played a central role in the high north for many years. Every business segment within the KONGSBERG group is currently involved in this region. Kongsberg Maritime Subsea provides surveillance services of the seabed and water column, and Kongsberg Maritime provides training in simulators so that seafarers are prepared to face the challenges of the Arctic Ocean. For a number of years, Kongsberg Norcontrol IT has monitored the entire length of the Norwegian coastline via locations such as the Vardø centre. Kongsberg Spacetec provides satellite and monitoring technology. KSAT has completed a number of projects in the north related to monitoring oil spills and ice, and Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies has provided software products, among others.
With the dividing line between Norway and Russia finally established, it is now much more simple to compile estimates for commercial projects in the high north. This attractive, weather-beaten region is vast – four times the size of Europe. The region is also considered to be our most important source of food. It is also rich in black gold; estimates indicate that the high north has a fourth of the world's undiscovered petroleum resources. Shipping traffic in the region is on the rise. By choosing to sail the Northern Sea Route, ships can make significant savings in time and eliminate the risk of pirates. The extreme nature in the high north also attracts tourism.
Environmental requirements in the high north have to be reinforced in order to secure proper and sustainable development and management of the region. In its petroleum report, the Norwegian government stipulates that the petroleum industry is an industry for the future and that technology which safeguards the environment is a key element.
"Our technology and expertise prove that we have the ability to meet the challenges laid down by both the Norwegian authorities and the petroleum companies," confirms President Even Aas.
Even Aas has worked on projects in the high north since KONGSBERG's first project there in 2005.
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Running commercial operations in the high north requires technology and expertise which can
withstand extreme conditions; something in which KONGSBERG specialises.
A number of challenges
The interaction between oil and gas extraction, the environment, fishing and shipping is a decisive factor for the development of the high north, according to Even Aas. Frode Kjersem from the Norwegian Coastal Administration agrees. Mr. Kjersem explains the importance of having systems to secure sustainable development, but also how decisive it is for the Norwegian authorities to facilitate commercial operations in the high north.
"If Norway does not succeed in paving the way for commercial business in the area, it's possible that businesses will be established in Russia instead," claims Frode Kjersem.
Running commercial operations in the high north requires technology and expertise which can withstand extreme conditions; something in which KONGSBERG specialises. "We create systems which make the user better equipped to make important decisions in extreme situations," explains Even Aas.
Two of the most recent projects for KONGSBERG in the high north involve BarentsWatch, the prestigious monitoring program set up by the Norwegian government and Statoil's project for integrated environmental monitoring. By taking part in such comprehensive monitoring and warning systems, KONGSBERG has consolidated its position as a supplier of national, strategically important technology.
"Our participation in the BarentsWatch project and the Statoil project for integrated environmental monitoring are both important milestones for KONGSBERG. These are the first major projects which involve so many parts of the KONGSBERG Group. I believe that we will witness an increased demand for these types of systems in the future. Both projects provide us with excellent references for the future," confirms Even Aas.
He goes on to explain the importance of making use of cooperation throughout all parts of the Group in order to supply unique, comprehensive systems.
"Exploiting the full range of services and products provided by KONGSBERG is not only advantageous for the future of the Group but also the world at large," he concludes.