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Tuesday, 07 January 2014 10:43

Oil and Gas activities have shaped Stavanger into an international city - Christine Sagen Helgø, Mayor Of Stavanger

Oil and Gas activities have shaped Stavanger into an international city - Christine Sagen Helgø, Mayor Of Stavanger

“Stavanger has grown as the capital of oil and gas in Norway over the last 40 years. The growth in the city and the region has been very strong, and the growth continues. New fields like Johan Sverdrup together with improved oil recovery from the old fields will extend the age of oil in Norway and in Stavanger. Oil and gas activities have shaped Stavanger into an international city”, Ms. Christine Sagen Helgø, Mayor of Stavanger City (Norway) said in her exlcusive interview with Caspian Energy Investor.

 

Caspian Energy Investor (CEI): What could you tell about the energy constituent of Stavanger, the biggest oil-gas center of Norway?

Christine Sagen Helgø, Mayor of Stavanger (Norway): Oil and gas is our biggest and most important industry cluster. Today we have more than 50 000 employed within the oil- and gas industry; 15 000 in oil companies and 35 000 in oil field services.

 

CEI: As is known, Stavanger was found to be the most successful economic region of Norway. How did the region develop over the past years?

Christine Sagen Helgø: Stavanger has grown as the capital of oil and gas in Norway over the last 40 years. The growth in the city and the region has been very strong, and the growth continues. Not many years ago the prediction was that the Norwegian continental shelf was up for sunset. In 2011 and 2012 we have made a lot of new discoveries in the most mature part of the Norwegian continental shelf in the North Sea. New fields like Johan Sverdrup together with improved oil recovery from the old fields will extend the age of oil in Norway and in Stavanger. Oil and gas activities have shaped Stavanger into an international city. Today nearly 20 percent of our citizens have their origin outside of Norway, representing 175 nationalities. That is one of the most enriching aspects of Stavanger. The strong growth also represents challenges, especially concerning housing, transportation systems and talent.

 

CEI: What contribution does the oil-gas industry make in development of economy and infrastructure of the city?

Christine Sagen Helgø: The oil and gas industry is an important source of income to the City of Stavanger basically through tax income from personnel with high wages. It also represents purchasing power on goods and services, along with great investments.

 

CEI: Which economic spheres of the city do you find more attractive for investing?

Christine Sagen Helgø: We just opened a new concert hall, which we funded partly with contributions from our business community. It has so far been a great success. Since the opening in September more than 60 000 have visited.

 

CEI: What kind of importance is attached to issues of ecology and environmental protection in Stavanger, European capital of energy?

Christine Sagen Helgø: Those are issues of great importance and incorporated both in the public and private sector.

 

CEI: What could you tell about alternative energy and energy saving related projects?

Christine Sagen Helgø: We do strengthen our efforts to make energy alternatives a reality. Climate change mitigation has to penetrate all areas of urban development. In the battle against the climate change challenge it is crucial that local governments are leading actors for implementing sustainable energy policies. In 2002 the city council adopted what some has called Norway’s most ambitious energy- and climate plan. Our ambition is not only to reduce CO2 emissions as much as possible. Stavanger became the first Norwegian city to join the EU initiated Covenants of Mayors.

 

CEI: How does tourism develop in Stavanger? What are the prospects of cooperation with the Caspian cities?

Christine Sagen Helgø: The development of tourism is very important to the Stavanger region. We have a lot to offer, both for international travelers and to people from other parts of Norway. In the last years we have especially seen a strong growth in cruise ship tourism.

 

CEI: Which new infrastructure and transportation projects does Stavanger develop today?

Christine Sagen Helgø: One of the most important is to build a new public transportation system in the Stavanger area. There are also subsea tunnel projects that will link the region more together and benefit both the people living here and the industry.

 

Thank you for the interview

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