When Oil & Energy Minister Terje Søviknes officialy opened the new Gina Krog oil field in the North Sea this week, a man from Kuwait was standing and smiling in the background. Ali al-Mousa is chief of Norwegian operations for Kufpec, Kuwait’s state-owned oil company’s overseas unit, and it now owns 30 percent of Gina Krog.
“We have invested more than USD 600 million in Norway,” Al-Mousa told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). An additional investment that recently brought Kufpec’s stake in Gina Krog up to 30 percent “hopefully won’t be the last investment.”
Kufpec is among many new players on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, at a time when oil majors have been selling off stakes. Total of France, for example, has sold off stakes in Norway, as has ExxonMobil. The new players are welcome, according to Søviknes: “As long as we get investors who want to develop the fields, it’s fine,” Søviknes told DN. “It’s more important that we have folks who want to do something, than those who just sit on their licenses.”
Søviknes predicts more changes in oil field ownership and operation, and claims new players still want to enter the Norwegian market even though oil prices remain relatively low. Costs have been cut since oil prices dove in 2014, leaving Norway “standing stronger in international competition.”