Pact Norwegian and UK

A raft of Norwegian companies are set to step up their investments in the UK sector under a ”landmark agreement” strengthening energy ties between the two countries signed by their respective prime ministers in Oslo on Thursday.

Top executives from 10 companies including state-owned Statoil, oilfield services giant Aker Solutions, and drilling and floating production player Fred Olsen attended a breakfast meeting with UK Premier David Cameron and his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg to discuss their UK growth ambitions.

They were expected to outline investment and expansion plans that “together will create more than 1600 new jobs in the UK and result in tens of billions [of pounds] of investment”, according to a statement issued by the British prime minister’s office.

The announcement came as Aker Solutions revealed it would create a new engineering hub in London and the UK’s Centrica said it was extending its pact with Statoil on North Sea gas exploration.

The talks formed the backdrop to the signing of a new Norway-UK partnership pact by the two leaders that Cameron said would mean “more collaboration on affordable long-term gas supply, more reciprocal investment in oil, gas and renewable energies and more commercial deals creating thousands of new jobs and adding billions to our economies”.

Norway already supplies over a quarter of the UK’s energy demand, while British companies have invested more than £13 billion ($20 billion) in the Norwegian oil and gas sector over the past five years.

Under the agreement, the two countries will establish a joint business advisory group to enable companies to talk more easily with both governments and help smooth the supply chain, as well as promote new technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

“I hope that my visit to Oslo will help secure affordable energy supplies for decades to come and enhance investment between our two countries,” Cameron added.

The prime minister’s statement described Norway as a “trusted and reliable” neighbour for security of energy supply, as the country faces competition for European gas supplies from Russian state-owned giant Gazprom.