The New Oil-rich Scandinavians

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During the late 1960s and early 70s, the economies of Norway and Denmark were given another welcome leg-up – they struck oil.

Denmark had become adept at exploiting niche markets (think Lego, Bang & Olufsen, Carlsberg, and selling streaky bacon to Britain), but this was the first time the country had enjoyed the luxury of natural resources since the 14th-century herring shoals.

Tyra field, Denmark
Tyra field, Denmark

According to OilGasDenmark, 48 billion DKK or 9 percent of Denmark’s export is the amount that Oil and gas contribute with yearly.

15.000 people are employed in the Danish oil and gas sector, including employees in the service and supplier sector.

8 billion m3 natural gas is annually brought ashore from the fields in the North Sea through the 200 km long high-pressure transmission lines.

Ironically, Denmark’s North Sea windfall arrived in the first middle of its first experiments with wind farms.

Measured against population the prize in Norway was much bigger and triggered lavish expenditure on road tunnels and other infrastructure investments. Norway is the world’s second biggest exporter of natural gas and the fifth biggest exporter of oil.

Barcode seen from Sorenga
Barcode seen from Sorenga

By the 1990s Norway had paid off its entire foreign debt; and in 1995, it began to stash away the cash for a rainy day, creating a sovereign wealth fund with the surplus petroleum money.

Oslo Opera House
Oslo Opera House

Oslo began its transformation from quiet town to Europe’s fastest-growing city: within 40 years, oil-money had created a futuristic harborside, new financial district and world class buildings like the Opera House.

The New Oil-rich Scandinavians, written by Tor Kjolberg