Telling tales about tomorrow

17/10/2007 More than 40 years have passed since the first well was drilled on the Norwegian continental shelf, and the question is whether Norway will remain an oil and gas nation four decades from now. Scenarios can help to raise awareness about factors influencing developments on the NCS.

text: Ina Gundersen, photo: Bård Gudim

Opportunities open when perspectives change is the title given to a set of scenarios developed by the NPD for the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE).

“The oil and gas business is important for Norway,” notes Maryann Løcka, deputy director general at the MPE. “So it’s crucial to be knowledgeable about the industry and its prospects. Drawing up scenarios enhances our understanding of the conditions which could influence production developments on the NCS.”

Scenarios are stories about the future, used as an aid to long-term thinking in a world full of uncertainty. Tomorrow cannot be predicted with any assurance. The only certainty is that the world will change. After 40 years of oil and gas activity, the NPD scenarios indicate how the NCS might develop over the coming four decades.

“Being conscious about the factors which affect development is crucial for the country,” says Ms Løcka. “These scenarios will be used in future work by both the NPD and the MPE.”

Achieving a common understanding of challenges and opportunities on the NCS is extremely important, says Terje Sørenes, coordinator for the scenarios at the NPD.

“These extrapolations are intended to communicate the uncertainty associated with Norway’s overall offshore resources,” he notes.

“We must clarify the upside and what could be lost if specific circumstances arise. The size of our resources, how much we can access and how much can be recovered are all very uncertain.”

The scenarios could encourage creative thinking and help ensure that necessary and forward-looking moves are taken so that Norway remains an important petroleum producer and exporter in 2047.

“Our starting point is the drivers we believe to be the most important,” explains Mr Sørenes. “These are the most significant for production and value creation and the least certain.

“The price of oil and gas and the size of Norway’s undiscovered resources can have a big impact, and make the future different from what we now think it will be.”

He says that the NPD scenarios do not cover all possible courses of events. Other factors – political, economic or technological – may influence developments.

The development of possible new and easily accessible energy sources, for instance, could have great significance for the future of the NCS.

Scenario A: full speed ahead
Scenario B: techno lab
Scenario C: sorry, we're closed
Scenario D: blood, sweat and tears

Terje Sørenes (left) from the NPD and Maryann Løcka at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy have coordinated work on the scenarios.
Terje Sørenes (left) from the NPD and Maryann Løcka at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy have coordinated work on the scenarios.


Updated: 04/09/2009