Norwegian Energy Ministry up and running following attacks

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Following the tragic attacks in Norway, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is back up and running, having had to relocate offices.

On the afternoon of July 22, 2011, multiple bombs shook the governmental center in Oslo, Norway. The explosion destroyed the main governmental building, and left the building that housed the energy ministry in flames.

The bomber then disguised himself as a police officer, and went on a shooting rampage at a youth political summer camp on Utoya Island nearby.

Terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik is accused of killing 77 people that day.

Although Norway is in mourning, the country has risen stronger from the ashes, with opposing political parties working together and companies across the nation striving to conduct business as usual.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy returned to work the Monday following the attack, confirmed Hakon Smith-Isaksen, communications adviser for the group.

The building that used to house the energy ministry was heavily damaged, and several of the staff was injured, he advised. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has pressed forward.

"The following Monday (July 25) the ministry was up and running, using office space at the Norwegian Water Resource and Energy Directorate at Majorstua in Oslo," Smith Isaksen told PennEnergy. "We are for the time working from here. It is not yet clear when we can move back to our old building."

Additionally, Nordic American Tankers Ltd. has issued a press statement following the bombing and shootings in Norway, confirming that all the staff of the company is safe.

"Our country's political leaders have shown an unshakeable and unified front, no matter what party they are from," said Herbjorn Hansson, chairman and CEO of Nordic American Tanker. "They have clearly expressed that the brutal assaults will not intimidate or threaten Norway, which will stand firm in defending its main values built on a democratic, open, tolerant and inclusive society."

Oil and gas exploration began offshore Norway in the 1960s, and with the discovery of Ekofisk in 1969, the Norwegian North Sea became a major hydrocarbon province.

Today, the petroleum sector serves as Norway's largest industry. More than 70 fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf produce about 2.1 million barrels of oil and 106 billion cubic meters of gas a day, adding more than NOK 9 trillion to the country's GDP. 

Despite the attacks in Norway, the petroleum sector has continued exploring, developing, producing, refining and transporting oil and gas. Likely, the events of July 22 will help countries across the globe to better steel themselves against similar events, learning from Norway’s emergency preparedness and response.

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