Focus on LNG and Arctic technologies at ONS Stavanger

June 1, 2006
A crown prince, an LNG park, the head of the International Energy Agency, an HSE prize and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra - what late-summer occasion brings these diverse people and events together?

Nick Terdre,Contributing Editor

A crown prince, an LNG park, the head of the International Energy Agency, an HSE prize and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra - what late-summer occasion brings these diverse people and events together?

Add into the equation a sold-out exhibition, delegations from oil producing countries around the world, three innovation prizes and an arts festival, and the answer should be obvious - the Offshore Northern Seas conference and exhibition in Stavanger, Norway, on Aug. 22-25.

Claude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency, will address the theme of ‘Bridging the Energy Gap’ as one of the keynote speakers at ONS this year.
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“Bridging the Energy Gap” is the theme of this year’s conference. Four keynote speakers will address the topic from different vantage points during the inaugural session: Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, himself a former occupant of the hot seat at the oil and energy ministry; Claude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency, who will talk on global energy challenges; ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson; and Helge Lund, the Statoil president and CEO.

One of the topics in special focus at ONS this year is liquefied natural gas.

“LNG is a hot topic these days,” says Ursin-Smith. “It offers an attractive solution for delivering gas over long distances to energy-hungry markets such as the US and Japan, and a development solution for gas found in remote areas.”

With Statoil’s Snøhvit LNG project due to come on stream next year, Norway has become an LNG nation, he adds.

A dedicated LNG Park will be set up at ONS, with players representing different facets of the value chain. The initiative is being backed by a triumvirate of “founding fathers” - Statoil, Teekay, and Total.

“The aim is to present the whole LNG chain,” explains Ursin-Smith. LNG will also be the theme of one of the conference sessions.

Another hot topic is the extremely cold waters of the Arctic Ocean, where, according to the US Geological Survey, 25% of undiscovered hydrocarbon reserves are thought to be located. In the western Russian sector, the competition among foreign companies, including Norwegian ones, to win a place in Gazprom’s Shtokman development has been headline news. In the Norwegian Barents Sea, exploration has resumed after a moratorium, new licenses have been awarded, and the government has published its integrated management plan for the area. Access to Arctic acreage and technology for operating in this region will be analyzed in ONS conference presentations.

Hydrogen fuel will also be in the spotlight. It is important, says Ursin-Smith, that the event should reflect developments in emerging sources of energy which are likely to play an increasing role in meeting the world’s future energy needs. Hydrogen-fueled vehicles will serve as taxis for VIP guests, and visitors to the show will be able to test-drive a hydrogen car. Statoil, which is developing a number of hydrogen projects in its new energy department, is responsible for organizing these events.

A new-look structure has been introduced for the ONS innovation awards, reflecting a growing awareness that innovation can take different forms.

“Innovation doesn’t have to be a new invention - it may also be existing knowledge or equipment put together in a new way, or applied in a new area,” says Rolf Wiborg, jury chair and senior adviser at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

Consequently, separate prizes will be awarded for innovatory products and innovatory processes. As before, there will also be an award for small and medium companies, making a total of three prizes. The awards will be made at a special lunch - itself a new feature - by Norway’s oil and energy minister, Odd Roger Enoksen.

The focus on technology development will be reinforced by the presence of an innovation park as part of the exhibition. This will be a mix of small technology start-up companies and established contractors or suppliers building on existing expertise.

The importance attached to securing the highest possible heath, environment and safety standards in Norway’s offshore industry has led to the institution of an HSE award. Selection of the winner will be made in cooperation with the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, and the award will be presented at a dedicated HSE lunch.

The conference’s final session, “Bridging the People Gap,” will discuss pressing recruitment issues, ranging from the need for more skilled people to tackle the industry’s high current workload, to encouraging young people to study the engineering and professional disciplines needed to secure the industry’s future.

As usual, ONS is keen to strengthen its reputation as an international meeting-place. In addition to the many foreign exhibitors, delegations have been invited from 15 oil producing countries, including several which have not attended ONS before. In sessions organized by Intsok, the Norwegian Oil & Gas partners, they will have an opportunity to present their sectors and their needs to the Norwegian supply industry.

And the Spanish Harlem Orchestra? They are the key musical attraction at the festival arranged by ONS in the evenings to entertain visitors and provide the opportunity for making new friends and contacts in an informal setting.