All posts by Jason Turflinger

Norway’s Largest Oil Pipeline Now in Place

STAVANGER — Last week Norway’s largest and longest pipeline, laid by the vessel Saipem Castorone, reached the Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea.

Late last week the last pipe of what is now Norway’s longest and largest oil pipeline was installed right next to the riser platform at Johan Sverdrup field. The 36-in. pipeline extends 283 km from the Mongstad oil terminal outside Bergen to the giant field in the North Sea.

Uber Norge-sjefen slutter

Uber-sjef for Norge og Danmark, Carl Edvard Endresen, slutter i selskapet. Til E24 sier han at motstanden Uber har møtt i Norge bidro til valget.

Bildelingstjenesten Uber kom til Norge i 2013, men ble møtt med tøff motstand fra myndighetene, taxinæringen og politiet allerede fra dag én. I 2016 ble selskapet ulovlig i Norge, ifølge politiet. I fjor trakk Uber seg ut i landet på ubestemt tid. Det samme har de gjort i Sverige og Danmark.

I dag har selskapet kun lov til å kjøre “Uber Black  og “Uber XXL” – som i realiteten fungerer som et privatsjåfør – og limousinselskap.

Til E24 innrømmer Uber-sjefen at den tøffe tiden har bidratt til at han nå slutter og går over til stillingen som daglig leder i Axo AS, holdingselskapet for virksomhetene Axo Finans AS og Axo Finans AB.

– Det er klart at tidslinjen spiller litt inn, men nå blir det spennende å komme tilbake til finansverden og til Axo som er utrolig flinke på det de gjør, sier han til avisen.

Keep Government Out of Google Searches

Floyd Abrams is the author of “The Soul of the First Amendment.”

President Trump’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, announced Tuesday that the administration is “taking a look” at regulating Google’s conduct, given Trump’s complaints earlier in the day that the company’s search results suppress conservative views. Kudlow’s statement raises First Amendment concerns of the highest magnitude.

According to the president’s predawn tweets, Google’s supposed bias is revealed by the too “prominent” role it affords to “Fake CNN” while shutting out “Republican/Conservative & Fair Media.” Responding to the criticism, Google said: “When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds. Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.”

Google’s fairness is not only an apt topic for public debate but also an essential one. If it were true, as the president claims, that with biased search results the company is “hiding information and news that is good” about his administration, Google would deserve harsh criticism. And if, on the contrary, the president’s tweets were themselves not only unsubstantiated but simply a reflection of the fact that more critical than supportive articles appear in major media, so would he.

That sort of debate is healthy. What is potentially dangerous is the assertion in the president’s tweets that “This is a very serious situation – will be addresses!” and Kudlow’s intimation that a regulatory response was actually being considered. Of course, Trump and Kudlow may not mean it. Or they may mean it and will not pursue it further. But one cannot tell, and so when such statements are made, it is worth responding immediately: any such government action would constitute a particularly egregious violation of the First Amendment.

ONS: Cybersecurity Experts Say O&G Industry Not Doing Enough

STAVANGER — While the global oil and gas industry seems to have plenty of innovation and new thinking to show off at ONS this year, there is a group of folks that thinks it is coming up short in one specific area and that would be fighting cybersecurity threats adequately.

In a morning conference session at ONS on Wednesday, a star-studded panel of experts assessed the threat posed to the industry by cyber attacks and what executives still need to do, beyond measures already in place, to address the problem thoroughly. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who served under Former President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009, led off the session. He set the table for the other speakers, when he said that “the costly and dynamic nature of cybersecurity threats makes them a top risk for many businesses,” particularly board directors and management. However, he says they often struggle with understanding and responding to the scope of these rapidly changing risks.

Chertoff pointed out that for most boards, cybersecurity is far from a core competency. They are not well-schooled in security measures and this lack of “fluency” can cause indecision or avoidance related to cybersecurity. Too often, executives may resign themselves to a mentality that attacks are unavoidable.

Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Wants More Time to Shift Stocks

Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund recommended it be given more time to adjust its stock portfolio should it stray away from its 70% target.

The recommendation is part of a review of the rebalancing rules after the government boosted the amount of shares it can hold from just above 60 percent. The fund also recommended tightening the band at which it can deviate from its target to 2 percentage points from 4 percentage points.

“Transaction costs and deviation from the strategic target can be reduced with the combination of a narrower no-trade band and more gradual adjustment back to the strategic target than at present,” Norges Bank Governor Oystein Olsen and Norges Bank Investment Management Chief Executive Officer Yngve Slyngstad said in a letter to the Finance Ministry.

ONS: Updates on the New E&P Landscape of the NCS

STAVANGER — Since ONS in 2016, the landscape of E&P companies on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) has changed significantly. New players have entered the arena, companies have merged and several of the larger majors have changed their organizations, altered their business models or even changed their names and branded outfit, such as Equinor.

At ONS 2018 you will get updated on the new E&P landscape on the NCS.

Several new players have merged–and emerged.

Point Resources is the result of several mergers. With the upcoming, and yet-to-be-formalized, merger with Eni Norway, Point Resources will be part of a new company, Vår Energi, by the end of the year.

BP’s exposure on the NCS is now through AkerBP, while French Total bought Danish Mærsk Oil. The combinations of Centrica and Bayerngas, and Wintershall and DEA represent more classical mergers.

Okea grows into a new major operator in the North Sea after taking over Draugen field from Shell. And the funds Carlyle and CVC Capital Partners have supported British Neptune Energy’s acquisition of Engie and VNG and their ambition to grow in the North Sea.

The oil and gas players on the shelf are more diversified financially as well as geographically. The new players are entering the shelf, with a clear objective to invest, grow and innovate NCS. A healthy diversity on the shelf is being maintained. ONS is proud to have 28 E&P companies as exhibitors both traditional larger companies and new players that demonstrate a willingness to invest, creating value and by adding to the innovative ecosystem on NCS.

Vi i legemiddelindustrien må fortelle folk hva vi gjør

Representanter fra legemiddelindustrien og politikken diskuterte omdømmeproblematikk og legemiddelpriser på Arendalsuka 2018.

ARENDAL: American Chamber of Commerce in Norway (AmCham Norway) arbeider for å bygge og opprettholde norske og amerikanske forretningsforbindelser. På Arendalsuka 2018 arrangerte de møtet «The Pharmaceutical Industry revealed: who, what, why and when?».

Et av hovedtemaene som ble brakt på banen var legemiddelindustriens omdømmeproblematikk, og møteleder Jason Turflinger, som er daglig leder i AmCham Norway, inviterte til en åpen samtale om temaet. Han viste innledningsvis til tall fra en Norstat-undersøkelse som viser at bare 52 prosent av de spurte visste noe som helst om den norske legemiddelindustrien.

— Det er et svært lavt tall, og det viser at vi har en jobb å gjøre. Vi må fortelle folk hva vi driver med. Hvis ikke vil det oppstå spekulasjoner. Samtidig er det restriktivt hva vi kan kommunisere, og da er det desto viktigere at vi samtidig kommuniserer godt med folkets representanter, altså politikerne, sa Hilde Bech, som er landssjef for Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Norge.

Med seg i panelet hadde hun industrikollega Dr. Ans Heirman fra Belgia, som er administrerende direktør for MSD Norge. Hun måtte si seg enig med Bechs refleksjoner.

— Vi har ingen god historie med kommunikasjon til folket, det er gjerne kun hos leger og helsepersonell fokuset har ligget. Men dagens pasienter vil vite mer, og da blir det viktigere å kommunisere godt til disse, sa Heirman, som også mente det er synd at flere gode historier fra legemiddelindustrien ikke når folk.

— Det skrives både gode og dårlige historier om industrien, men dessverre vinner de dårlige historiene ofte frem. Vi i industrien må jobbe for å få de gode historiene mer frem.

Lilly Ann Elvestad, generalsekretær i Funksjonshemmedes Fellesorganisasjon (FFO), deltok også i panelet. Hun kunne fortelle at FFO har hatt et godt samarbeid med industrien i mange år.

— Vi jobber med mange av de ulike pasientorganisasjonene, og mange av disse har godt samarbeid med de ulike legemiddelselskapene. Når det gjelder FFO, har vi noe samarbeid med Legemiddelindustrien (LMI) og årlige møter med AbbVie, fortalte hun.

Møteleder Turflinger stilte panelet flere spørsmål under debatten, og lurte blant annet på hva deltakernes holdning til å tjene penger på legemidler var. Alle fra både industri, organisasjoner og politikk mente unisont at det måtte være greit.

— Det har lenge virket som om vi har et problem her i Norge med at folk tjener penger. Men uten profitt har man ingen bedrift. Det må også være mulig å tjene penger på helsetjenester, sa stortingsrepresentant og farmasøyt Sveinung Stensland (H).

Energy Minister: Losing Lofoten Would Imperil Norway’s Arctic Push

Backing down on drilling off Norway’s Lofoten islands could also threaten the search for 16 billion barrels of oil and gas that lies beneath the Barents Sea, the country’s energy minister said.

The warning comes amid increasing signs that Labor, the nation’s biggest party and a long-time friend to the oil industry, is starting to give in to a push to shield the sensitive islands from exploration. Oil companies such as Equinor ASA have said access to the area, thought to hold about 1.3 billion barrels of oil and gas, is vital to prolonging Norway’s oil age.

“If the environmentalists win this one, the focus will quickly move to the Barents Sea,” Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Soviknes, who represents the Progress Party in the Conservative-led government, said in an interview Friday.

Drilling off Lofoten has been one of the most deadlocked issues for years as political bargaining maintained a ban on exploration. Should Labor flip on the issue, there will be a solid majority in parliament for closing off Lofoten permanently.

Compromising with smaller parties, successive governments have kept the area off limits while expanding exploration in the Barents Sea. Success in the under-explored Barents is seen as key to limiting a forecast drop in production from the middle of the next decade.

Some of Norway’s Largest Companies Joining Forces to Establish National AI Lab

Some of Norway’s largest companies are joining forces in establishing a national powerhouse for artificial intelligence. Its aim is to improve the quality and capacity for research, education and innovation in the field.

Norway has a huge potential to be a pioneer in Artificial Intelligence (AI), but it needs resources and collaboration in order not to lag behind. To strengthen national efforts on artificial intelligence, Telenor, NTNU and SINTEF are inviting Norwegian businesses to partner on the new Norwegian Open AI Lab. Additional partners will include DNB, DNV GL, Equinor, and the Kongsberg Group.

While the Norwegian Open AI Lab will develop solutions specific to the partners’ industries, it will also consider opportunities where Norway can take positions internationally. Norway benefits from a competitive advantage thanks to its advanced ICT infrastructure, purchasing power, competence and a population with above-average technological literacy. Having a strong position on artificial intelligence is central to ensuring that Norway is able and prepared to compete in the global market. A strengthened AI lab like this ensures that Norway can continue the tradition of collaboration between business and academia in the country. 

Norway to Tamp Down on Oil Spending After Wealth Fund Deposits

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg is ready to start reining in oil spending after the government began putting money back into the sovereign wealth fund again.

The Norwegian government in June made its first deposit into its wealth fund since the end of 2015. Now that the economy is in full recovery and the labor market is tightening, winding down fiscal stimulus is a key priority in next year’s budget, the prime minister said in an interview in Arendal, on Norway’s southern coast.

“It’s the tangible things in the economy that matter,” Solberg said. “We ensured that people were employed, and we made sure that the challenges were minimized for people in Norway — now it is important that we’re able to show that we have also managed to scale down the use of oil money.”