Force – still going strong after 20 years

20/11/2015 For 20 years, oil companies and authorities have met on excursions, for lunch meetings and seminars to discuss how to increase oil recovery and streamline exploration.

The conclusion is that sharing information benefits all parties.

This is in line with the ambition of the Force collaboration forum, which is to “play an important role in future value creation on the Norwegian shelf”. The goal is to facilitate cooperation between companies, authorities and expert communities.

“It is impressive that Force is still going strong. This is probably because the forum is still relevant and pertinent,” says Dag Bering, the NPD geologist who originally conceived the idea that led to Force. When it started, Force consisted of 13 companies, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the Research Council of Norway. At the time, Force only addressed issues relating to improved recovery.

The collaboration forum is now, as then, for companies that are qualified as licensees on the Norwegian shelf. As of today, nearly 50 companies have joined. Force’s primary focus areas are improved exploration (IE) and improved oil and gas recovery (IOGR).

Each area is led by a technical committee with members from eight companies, while many of the seminars and meetings are organised by various network groups. Joint industry projects (JIPs) are another collaborative arena – here the companies identify joint issues with specific challenges and establish projects across production licences.

“Member companies pay about NOK 40,000 per year and there is, in principle, a ‘zero budget’. The funds are spent on administration and joint activities,” says Eva Halland, who is an NPD geologist and chair of the Force secretariat.

The NPD also participates in Force – both as a member, secretariat and accountant; 1.5 full-time equivalents have been allocated for secretariat tasks.

“Most activities take place in our offices in Stavanger. But we encourage the companies to take the lead on other aspects; they are the ones who have to take responsibility for raising topics and issues,” says Eva Halland.

And this they do; Halland is often surprised at how open they are, and how much they share, when they meet at seminars and lunch meetings. This is most likely a recognition of the fact that the more you share, the more others will share in return. And the activity level has been rising in recent years:

“After we restructured the work in 2012, Force has gained a second wind. The committees are working well, and the activities are generally full and have waiting lists. Some of the seminars are also transmitted via video. The discussions are open, participants are active and people tell us they feel the activities are valuable,” says Halland, who admits that she is sometimes impressed with what brings people in:

“The topics are often very specific and can be fairly narrow. For example, we had a two-day seminar on biostratigraphy that was very well-attended. No-one else delves into the details like that, the major conferences are usually much more general.”

The activities organised by non-commercial Force are also immune to the cutbacks and savings measures in the oil sector.

But does Force contribute to improved exploration and recovery of more oil and gas on the shelf? Halland believes it does. Because good discussions and sharing of knowledge and experience motivate people and make them more aware – which in turn affects the jobs they do.


Here is some of member feedback:



Elisabeth Femsteinevik

Elisabeth Femsteinevik,
licence and portfolio manager in Faroe Petroleum

The Force collaboration has given Faroe Petroleum access to many exciting and fruitful partnerships with both academia and other oil companies. We also gain access to good conferences and seminars.



Roar M. Kjelstadli

Roar M. Kjelstadli,
senior reservoir engineer in BP

Force is a well-functioning forum where companies can share their experience from exploration and production on the Norwegian shelf. Force ‘workshops’ are also a good arena for network building within specialised disciplines.



Laila Pedersen

Laila Pedersen,
senior geophysicist in Suncor

Force is an exciting collaboration forum where a number of companies share good ideas and results. An entry-level forum for discussions and presentations. I think the seminars and workshops have addressed many exciting and interesting topics.


Kjell-Sigve Lervik

Kjell-Sigve Lervik,
geologist in Statoil

Force is an arena where companies and people meet in a positive atmosphere to generate ideas and cooperation from which all participants can benefit. We discuss interesting topics at professional workshops. Statoil has been part of Force for a long time, and we realise that cooperation is important to achieve value creation on the Norwegian shelf.


Hans Augedal

Hans Augedal,
chief geologist in Lundin and chairman of the Force Management Committee

The companies compete on a daily basis to be awarded licences. In other parts of the world, this results in knowledge and experiences being protected to achieve a competitive advantage. What is unique about the Norwegian shelf, is that we, e.g. through Force have achieved open sharing of competence and knowledge between companies within exploration, production and improved recovery, which benefits the industry itself and development of the shelf a whole. Force organises a number of seminars and work meetings of very high professional quality that are very popular in the industry, and ensures good, informal contact between disciplines.


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Updated: 23/11/2015