‘The Black Gold’ has turned Stavanger into Norway’s capital of oil. At the Norwegian Petroleum Museum you’ll find everything you need to know about the exciting oil activity in the North Sea.

Without its oil, Norway would not be where it is today. It is almost funny looking back at the 1950′s, when few believed there could be riches of oil or gas to be found along the Norwegian coast. In this part of the world the energy consumption was mostly based on coal and imported oil. However, a gas discovery in the Netherlands in 1959 attracted great attention. In eagerness to find more, all eyes were looking to the North Sea, and so the Norwegian oil adventure began.

The influence of oil in Norway

The petroleum industry has undeniably had much to say for the economic growth in Norway, not to mention the financing of the Norwegian welfare state. In over 40 years, the oil industry has created values of over 12,000 billion Norwegian kroner, and in 2012, it contributed with 23% of the value creation in the country. It is more than twice as large as the manufacturing (onshore) industry and 15 times more than the total value creation of the primary industries. It must be added that a lot of this is invested into exploration, field development, infrastructure of transport and onshore facilities. Since its beginning until the end of 2012, over 3,000 billion Norwegian kroner has been invested into the oil industry. You can read more about this in the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy’s Norway’s oil history in 5 minutes.

The oceanic city

There is no doubt that the ‘black gold’ has had a great impact and has changed the Stavanger region. The ocean has always been a provider in this part of the country. The cathedral and diocese, which helped to create a city here in the 1100s, were built facing the waterfront harbour. The sea was the main road, and the harbour a natural hub for national and foreign trade. After a while, Stavanger became a large herring provider. With modernisation and the establishment of factories, canning and shipbuilding took over as the city’s main industries. But in the early 1960s the canning industry was decreasing, and the people of the city looked for alternative livelihoods. They found oil.

The oil base in Stavanger

Towards the middle of the 1960s, the search for oil in the North Sea accelerated. It signified a new beginning for Stavanger opening many doors for the region. Firstly, the American oil prospectors needed good facilities onshore in the initial phases. The city’s business men took advantage of these opportunities, and contributed by facilitating base areas with homes, schools and more. The infrastructure was already in place when the first major oil find, discovered on Christmas Eve, 1969, on the Ekofisk field in the North Sea. Stavanger was officially confirmed as the Norwegian capital of oil when the Parliament decided that Statoil and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy should be located here in 1972. Stavanger has been a natural centre for oil-related activities ever since, like the Offshore Northern Seas event, ONS 2014. Over 60,000 visitors come here from the oil and gas industry worldwide to attend conferences, exhibitions and festival fun.

Action offshore

It might not come as a surprise that the Norwegian Petroleum Museum is also located in Stavanger. This is a museum for the whole family, and indeed anyone who wants to learn and know more about oil, how oil and gas is formed, discovered, produced and how all these resources are used. You can experience this through the museums own visual presentation, a 3D film called ‘Petropolis’. Technical enthusiasts will appreciate the insight into technological innovations and how petroleum resources affect Norwegian society. Everything is communicated through original exhibits of artefacts, models, films and interactive exhibits on everything from daily life to technicality and drama.

Museum favourite in Stavanger

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum is the city’s most visited museum. You can enjoy exciting presentations of the Norwegian oil adventure. It provides a structured view of the technological development, from the first platforms in the North Sea to the steel and concrete platforms designed and built in Norway. It also explores the modern, flexible production vessels and subsea systems which seem to be the future solution for the Norwegian continental shelf.

A short walk from the Petroleum Museum, you will find the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Stavanger. This central hotel is a perfect place for those who want to explore this exciting city of oil. It lies within easy access to trains, buses and all boat and ferry transportation nearby. The hotel also includes a spacious event venue known as the Garage, as well as five smaller conference rooms for meetings and seminars, ideal for any oil and gas industry meetings.

What part of the Norwegian oil adventure intrigues you the most?