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ONS 2010: Åpningstale

Speech by His Majesty The King at the opening of ONS 2010, Stavanger, 24 August.

Your Excellencies,
distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the years, the ONS event has developed into one of the world’s leading energy meeting places. ONS has a unique concept – embracing an exhibition, a conference and an exciting cultural festival. These events attract major influential figures to one of the energy sector’s key global events.

The age of easy oil is over. The industry is now exploring for oil and gas in the deep ocean and in very complex geological structures. In this respect ONS provides an excellent opportunity to showcase new and innovative technologies. It is a meeting place where you can exchange experiences and share ideas for handling the ever-demanding technological challenges.

The catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is a reminder to us all of the challenges and risks linked to deep sea activities. It is important that the industry’s technical experts come together at events such as ONS. In the quest for safer ways of producing oil and gas, it is vital that you openly exchange ideas and inspire each other.

Energy resources are of major importance to us all. We rely on them for the growth and welfare of our communities. Here in Norway we can look back on 40 exciting years, starting with the discovery of Ekofisk in 1969. It is here on the Norwegian Continental Shelf that we find both the world’s tallest and heaviest production platforms, and some of the most innovative subsea solutions. The solutions developed here are in the forefront of global technology. A distinguishing feature of the Norwegian shelf is that the production volumes of oil and gas have been much greater than at first thought. It is clear that the oil and gas age will be longer than we expected. This is not an episode – it’s an era.

ONS has chosen “Energy for more people” as its keynote theme for 2010. The question is, and will always be: How can energy resources secure growth and ensure that an ever-increasing global population can be granted the same opportunities as we have enjoyed in the West? Today we recognise that there is an important relationship between energy and the environment. The industry has a clear focus on reducing the environmentally damaging effects of oil and gas production. While seeking new and cleaner alternative energy sources, we must also acknowledge that the way out of the hydrocarbon age will be not be easy. Nor is it close at hand. The work to find alternatives to oil and gas, and not least coal, is very important. But we will have to rely on energy from oil and gas for many years to come. It is therefore crucial to encourage technologies that can guarantee that oil and gas can be produced with as few damaging effects on people and the environment as possible.

The way in which ONS showcases the complete energy picture is both stimulating and timely. At this year’s ONS, there are 1276 (one thousand two hundred and seventy-six) exhibitors from all over the world. There are also four special Parks. The Innovation, Renewable Energy, CCS, and Space and Energy Parks will focus on presenting new technology and new visions for the energy industry. The CCS and Space and Energy Parks are new to ONS this year, and they bring visions of an exciting technological future. Not only for Norway, but for the entire world community.

The combination of international energy politics and innovative technology makes the meeting place that is ONS unique. I wish you all a successful event, and hereby declare ONS 2010 open.

24.08.2010

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