All posts by Tyler Barrott

Bloomberg: Oil Engineer Helps Norway Double Respirator Capacity

An idea from a Norwegian oil engineer will help the Nordic country double the number of respirators in its hospitals to treat covid-19 patients.

The emergency respirator was developed in only three weeks and production is due to start imminently, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at a press conference on Tuesday. Norway currently has less than 700 such machines.

Engineer and entrepreneur Eivind Gransaether came up with the idea, which was then developed by the Norwegian Defense Research Institute and private businesses Laerdal Medical AS and Servi AS. The Norwegian government has guaranteed funding for the project and ordered 1,000 respirators, some of which might ultimately be exported.

Read entire article HERE.

Innovating for a New “Hverdag:” How AmCham Hospitality and Service Industry Members are Supporting Local Economies While Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

Innovating for a New “Hverdag"

How AmCham Hospitality and Service Industry Members are Supporting Local Economies While Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

This is a challenging time for many companies – especially those in the hospitality and service industry.

Several AmCham member companies are adapting their strategies to provide customers with a sense of normalcy, while going the extra mile to ensure that they are not only operating within the Norwegian authorities’ safety frameworks but exceeding them. At the core of this new operating reality are innovative solutions and creative initiatives that put the health and safety of customers and employees first.

McDonalds 4
Photo: Kilian Munch

Johnny Rockets

Amongst restaurants still operating during this difficult time is Johnny Rockets. As a relatively new actor on the Oslo restaurant scene, having opened its first classic American diner here in 2018, Johnny Rockets intended to open their newest branch in Sandvika on March 25th. They have had to quickly adopt a takeaway model.

“We take responsibility by staying open during this time of crisis. It is very challenging – we have lost a large part of the turnover and have had to furlough 90% of our employees. We do this to try to save jobs while keeping the wheels running in Norway. Also, because it is important that restaurants can continue to supply food to everyone who is either quarantined or has a home office, and help maintain some aspects of normal life. We want to make our guests feel safe. We have switched up our operations and most of our business is takeout. We also have made deliveries a possibility,” says CEO Jon-Erik Kristiansen. “It’s a tough day at Johnny Rockets, but we will come back even stronger!”

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“It’s a tough day at Johnny Rockets, but we will come back even stronger!”

Johnny Rockets CEO Jon-Erik Kristiansen

McDonald's

Opening their first restaurant in Oslo in 1983, McDonald’s has since employed over 50.000 Norwegians, becoming one of Norway’s largest restaurant chains, with 73 restaurants stretching from Kristiansand in the south and Steinkjer in the north. They have become one of Norway’s biggest workplaces for youth and first-time employees.

According to Communications Manager Veronika Skagestad, “we are trying our best to keep the restaurants open – both to ensure that people in the immediate area have access to food and to secure jobs. The safety and health of our guests and employees is the most important thing for us, and we follow the recommendations of the Norwegian health authorities closely. We see that our customers appreciate the opportunity to use drive-through, which accounts for around 70% of our sales now. Home delivery is also a service that has increased recently. Our ambition is to do what we can to keep the wheels running safely.”

Photo: Kilian Munch

Burger King

Burger King has opened 84 restaurants in Norway since 1988. Today their restaurants are closed for guest seating, but their service continues. 

Marketing Manager Heidi Moss notes that “this is a demanding situation for all of us. Burger King is working to keep as many restaurants as possible open for take-away, drive-thru, and home delivery. Seating in our restaurants is not available to ensure that our guests do not sit close to each other, in accordance with the instructions of the Norwegian Institute for Public Health. Our staff is committed to maintaining high-quality service for our guests, in the safest way possible. We already had strict guidelines for hygiene, and these have been further developed.”

“We are very grateful to all who dine with us during this extraordinary time and we are constantly updating our website with information on all restaurants that are open and at what hours.”

Burger King 3

Starbucks

The American coffee chain opened its first cafe in Norway at Oslo Airport at the beginning of 2012 to satisfy Norwegian’s impressive thirst for coffee. In the past weeks, Starbucks has been transparent, sharing the global company’s steps to navigating COVID-19 in China so that others can learn from their experience. 

“As we continue to navigate the scale and impact that coronavirus has had on our daily lives, our employees and customers remain our greatest priority. Throughout this period, we have been closely following the guidance of government and health officials in Norway. As of March 17th, we chose to close all of our coffee houses as part of the national and global dugnad to prevent spreading the virus, says Operations Manager Monica Vollan.

“As we continue to navigate the scale and impact that coronavirus has had on our daily lives, our employees and customers remain our greatest priority.”

Starbucks Operations Manager Monica Vollan

“At Starbucks, we are local – and the local support from business unions, shopping centers, and retail organizations is much appreciated. We are currently unable to offer ‘the Starbucks experience’ at our stores, but our webshop is still open and fully stocked. We already see that the number of orders is increasing, a silver lining in this difficult time. To support online sales and give our customers prime value for their purchase, we are sharing our best guides on how to brew a perfect cup of coffee at home and recipes for snacks, coffee drinks and treats that upgrade the home office.”

Support While Staying Safe

You can still enjoy your favorite restaurants and support local employees while staying safe. Order takeaway or delivery – and share menus and special opening hours on social media within your local community! Keep yourself and others safe by:

  • Ordering food delivery or takeaway if possible.
  • If you are sick – have someone pick up the food for you!
  • Paying electronically and in advance when possible.
  • Avoiding contact by having food placed on your doorstep.
  • Disinfecting the doorknob and doorbell for delivery workers.
  • Immediately throwing away bags or food containers.
  • And as always, washing your hands!

World Oil: Equinor sees Johan Sverdrup production ramp faster than expected

OSLO – Equinor’s Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea expects to reach plateau production for the first phase in early May, earlier than anticipated. Due to higher plant capacity, plateau production will increase from around 440,000 boepd to around 470,000 boepd.

Plateau production was previously expected to be reached during the summer. At the end of March, daily production had already exceeded 430,000 boepd.

Read entire article HERE.

NY Reviewer: Equinor to Depart U.S. Lobby Group IPAA over Climate Policy

Equinor will depart industry lobby the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) over a disagreement about climate policy, the energy generator stated Friday.

The Norwegian firm is undertaking a review of its memberships of sector associations under a settlement with a group of institutional buyers, the Climate Action 100+, signed last April.

Particularly, Equinor cited the IPAA’s support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) reversal of U.S. federal methane laws, which the corporate criticized.

Read entire article HERE.

CNBC: WHO officials enroll first patients from Norway and Spain in ‘historic’ coronavirus drug trial

The first patients in a “historic” drug trial to test treatments for the coronavirus have been enrolled in Norway and Spain, World Health Organization officials announced Friday.

World health officials are testing four of the most promising drugs to fight COVID-19, including malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, an antiviral compound called Remdesivir, a combination of HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir and a combination of those drugs plus interferon-beta.

Read entire article HERE.

Hellenic Shipping: DNV GL’s remote surveys surge with 15,000 completed since launch

DNV GL introduced remote surveys in October 2018. More than 15,000 surveys have been completed remotely since then.
The impact of the global COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the value of DNV GL’s industry first remote survey services. With some 15,000 surveys and inspections undertaken since the launch in October 2018, customers have benefited from greater flexibility and efficiency through the continued digitalization and integration of DNV GL’s class services.

At DNV GL it is vital our customers continue to operate and deliver without disruptions to class services, and at the same time it is essential not to compromise the safety of crews and surveyors. While our offices, surveyors and experts remain to be in operation, remote surveys have provided the flexibility customers need, with global round the clock coverage, and improved efficiency through reduced travel times and increased availability.

Read entire article HERE.

Forbes: How Norway’s Travel Industry Is Coping Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

Tourism in Norway had been booming for a decade. Overnight stays in 2019 increased for the sixth successive year, hitting a new record of 35.2 million guest nights—a figure that excludes private rentals such as AirBnB and the ever increasing number of day visits from cruise ship passengers. Almost 170,000 people work in the tourism sector in Norway, approximately 6.7% of the country’s workforce. Everyone in the industry had expected another record-breaking year. Then came the emergency coronavirus measures implemented to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Since March 16, Norway’s borders have essentially been closed to all non-residents. While domestic travel remains possible, the authorities have strongly advised against all but essential travel. The recent ban on overnight stays in cabins and several municipalities introducing quarantine regulations for anyone returning home has brought the travel industry to an unprecedented halt. With the emergency measures extended until April 13, the industry—and its employees—are facing an uncertain future.

Read entire article HERE.

Reuters: Hedge fund manager to lead Norway sovereign fund after $124 billion loss

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, named a London-based hedge fund manager as its new chief executive on Thursday and said it had lost $124 billion (104 billion pounds) this year as stock markets tanked due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Norwegian-born Nicolai Tangen, until now chief executive of AKO Capital, which he established in 2005, will take the helm in September, succeeding Yngve Slyngstad who announced his resignation last year.

“Tangen has built up one of Europe’s leading investment firms and has delivered very good financial results as an international investment manager,” Norwegian central bank Governor Oeystein Olsen said while announcing the appointment.

Read entire article HERE.

Press Release: Biogen Foundation Commits $10 Million to Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts in the US and Around The World

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Biogen Inc(Nasdaq: BIIB) today announced that the Biogen Foundation has committed $10 million to support global response efforts and communities around the world impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to address immediate critical needs, with the majority of donations going to support non-profit organizations in the U.S., including Massachusetts and North Carolina, in Italy and in other impacted countries worldwide. This donation will be used to help expand testing options, ease the strain on medical systems, provide training for front line health workers and support access to necessities like food. This adds to the donation made by Biogen China to the Red Cross Society of China.

The company has also provided medical equipment and supplies to Partners HealthCare in Massachusetts, to help diagnose COVID-19 in a greater number of people. Partners HealthCare is one of the largest providers of healthcare services in the Boston area. Biogen will also be supporting Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital directly as they work on the front line to treat and contain the virus.

“We are deeply affected by the impact of COVID-19 globally and we understand the critical importance of access to testing and other materials to support healthcare providers,” said Michel Vounatsos, CEO at Biogen. “It is vital that we act immediately to support those who are on the front lines caring for the health and well-being in all communities affected around the world. Our hope is that this commitment will support these courageous organizations, and the vulnerable, during this unprecedented time.”

“This pandemic is precipitating a series of unprecedented challenges and it is having a critical impact in our community and on people around the world,” said Anne Klibanski, M.D., President and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “I believe it is how we rise to meet these challenges that defines us.”

About the Biogen Foundation
The Biogen Foundation supports access to science education and to essential human services for children and their families in the communities in which Biogen facilities are located. The Biogen Foundation is committed to sparking a passion for science and discovery, supporting effective science education initiatives and strengthening efforts to make science education and science careers accessible to diverse populations.

About Biogen
At Biogen, our mission is clear: we are pioneers in neuroscience. Biogen discovers, develops and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Kenneth Murray and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp. Today Biogen has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, commercializes biosimilars of advanced biologics and is focused on advancing research programs in multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, neuromuscular disorders, movement disorders, ophthalmology, immunology, neurocognitive disorders, acute neurology and pain.

We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.biogen.com. Follow us on social media – TwitterLinkedInFacebookYouTube.

Read original press release HERE.

Market Watch: Ford partners with GE, 3M to build ventilators, COVID-19 protective equipment

A car maker, industrial conglomerate and Post-it Notes maker said Tuesday they are working together to help ease the COVID-19 national emergency, as they look to boost production of equipment to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“This is such a critical time for America and the world. It is time for action and cooperation,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman at Ford Motor Co. “By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front line of this crisis.

Read entire article HERE.