Stavanger Widens Energy Partnership

The Norwegian city of Stavanger started the World Energy Cities Partnership together with co-founder Houston in 1993. Two decades later, the network has expanded to 21 petroleum city members with Stavanger once again at the helm. 

Stavanger has played a key role for most of the WECP’s history. The mayors of Stavanger have held the presidency position for the longest period. The most recent, Christine Sagen Helgo, was elected as president of the international energy network in 2013 for a two-year term.


Helgo is mayor for an oil rich region that employees half of the total Norwegian oil and gas industry and is home to major international operators and around 280 oil service companies, as well as Statoil headquarters, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Petroleum Safety Authority Norway and the International Research Institute of Stavanger. In addition to her political job at home, she now flies frequently to petroleum cities around the world on behalf of the WECP to help build business, research and educational bonds between the 21 petroleum cities represented. The most recent members -- Esbjerg and Karamay -- joined in 2013.


“My role as a spokesperson for the world’s energy industry has become a more important role with the addition of cities,” says Helgo. “It is a global organization that represents a great proportion of the industry.”


Growing Membership


The group originally started with only six cities agreeing to sign a memorandum of understanding in 1995: Stavanger, Aberdeen, Calgary, Houston, Perth, and Vung Tau. The oil industry was then in a state of crisis with Brent oil prices at only around $17 per barrel, the amount of work on the Norwegian shelf dwindling, and a need for Norwegian oil companies to look abroad for work.


“Stavanger is one of the most international regions in Norway after Oslo,” says Helgo. “It is important to have international alliances. There are countries that can give the region technological and market-based advantages.”


Helgo takes over the helm of the WECP during a different environment in the oil industry with high oil prices hovering over $100, increased focus on the environment, Arctic resources, and widely expanding member base. She is currently working on the possible expansion of their membership to include Kuala Lumpur after having talks with the Malaysian city’s representatives at Offshore Europe Aberdeen in 2013.


She traveled to the Offshore Technology Conference in Malaysia this March (2014) to further discuss an invitation for Kuala Lumpur to participate as observers at the WECP’s first meeting this year during the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this May. By August 2014, the city could become the 22nd member, in time for the Offshore Northern Seas Conference in Stavanger.


“Southeast Asia is a center for subsea and deepwater,” says Helgo. “It is an interesting market for the Stavanger region.


Malaysia ranks among the top ten largest international oil and gas markets for the Norwegian oil industry, according to the Norwegian industry government partnership INTSOK, citing Rystad Energy figures. The country is expected to spend about $50 billion in oil and gas over the period 2013-2016 and is one of INTSOK’s nine priority markets.

Helgø at WECP

Research Network


However the WECP is not just about establishing business contacts. It strives to connect researchers and academics in the various cities to share knowledge, ideas and technology. The group created the World Energy Cities Academic Partnerships (WECAP) in 2009 to generate research activities through university collaborations.


She plans to meet in Houston with the university and hospital community at MD Anderson, a premier cancer hospital in the US, about a co-operation with the Norwegian Radium Hospital. It is part of the WECP’s goal to be a network for knowledge, ideas and technology between the various cities. The group should not only develop business, but also strengthen cooperation between the international university and researchers, says Helgo.


A recent example is the cooperation struck between the universities in Stavanger, Houston, St. John’s and Aberdeen on Arctic research. The group came together as a result of a meeting between academic representatives and top leaders at Exxon during the OTC in Houston last May, aided in part by Helgo. The Arctic, enhanced oil recovery, and subsea are three of the WECP’s key areas for research cooperation.


“The mayor’s office can also be used for assuring that the right people come together,” says Helgo. “It’s not so easy for a researcher from Stavanger of St. John’s to get a meeting with the top leaders in Exxon, but I can.”


Climate Focus


Although focused mainly on petroleum, the energy partnership has over time widened its focus to renewable energy. The inclusion of Esbjerg as a new member is a case example. The Danish city not only represents two-thirds of the Nordic nation’s offshore production, but also is the center for Denmark’s renewable energy industry, primarily wind and wave. There are many crossover business opportunities in these industries as the subsea platforms for windmills can also be used for offshore oil & gas fields.


A main achievement in this area was the signing of the Calgary Climate Change Accord in 2009. With it, nine WECP members committed to being environmental leaders and catalysts for change by using policies and plans to reduce municipal government greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to reduce emissions from the 2005 level by at least 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.


“The whole global energy picture changes, for example through shale gas in the US,” says Helgo. “There are more actors and new energy sources. There is a greater emphasis on the environment in our meetings than before.”




Current WECP Member Cities:

Aberdeen, Scotland, Atyrau, Kazakhstan, Calgary, Canada, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Daqing, China, Doha, Qatar, Dongying, China, Esbjerg, Denmark, Halifax, Canada, Houston, US, Karamay, China, Luanda, Angola, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Perth, Australia, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago, St. John's, Canada, Stavanger, Norway, Tomsk, Russia, and Villahermosa, Mexico.




Picture text:


Christine Sagen Helgo, mayor of Stavanger and newly elected president of the World Energy Cities Partnership

Source: City of Stavanger



Mayor Helgo at WECP meeting in Houston, Texas during 2012

Source: City of Stavanger


 Topp photo

Helgo receives guided tour at oil and gas exhibition in Dongying, China during annual WECP meeting in October 2013

Source: Jan Soppeland

Related articles

Latest articles

Stavanger Widens Energy Partnership

The Norwegian city of Stavanger started the World Energy Cities Partnership together with co-founder Houston in 1993. Two decades later, the network has expanded to 21 petroleum city members with Stavanger once again at th...

Salmon – slight production increase

The global demand for Atlantic salmon continues to be strong, combined with a limited increase in production. The price may fall back a little, but it is very uncertain to know if this will happen, as economies a...

Saithe: Prices set to rice in 2014

The catch of saithe north of 62°N has set to the total fishing quota at 119 000 tonnes for this year. In Norway they were 100 000 tonnes while Russia had 12 000 and third countries quota was about 4 487 tonnes, which means...

Search & rescue in the high north

As the rate of Arctic maritime activity increases, so does the need for specialized accident response. Maritime 21 has launched a national initiative to build a world-class search and rescue competence in Norway’s High Nor...

Industry focuses on lng as key technology

A panel of experts at this year’s Nor-Shipping industry conference and exhibition in Lillestrom all concurred: LNG will be the most important technology issue for the maritime industry in the coming years.

New maritime opportunities in the arctic

Melting ice has opened new opportunities for the maritime industry in the North Sea Route.  Norwegian companies are collaborating with their expertise in the Centre for High North Logistics and the newly formed Arctic...

INTSOK prepares for new international challenges

The industry-government partnership INTSOK promoted Sjur Eigil Bratland in March to lead the Norwegian oil industry’s increasing push into international markets. He takes the helm as its members face a new set of challenge...

New opportunities for floating lng production

Experts forecast there will be a need for more floating LNG production vessels as the first FLNG field developments takes shape offshore Colombia, Malaysia and Australia over the years ahead. Norwegian shipowners Höegh, BW...

Oil companies look to norway

During the past 13 years, the number of companies exploring offshore Norway has risen from 25 to 54. Small companies in particular represent a disproportionate amount of the estimated 153,000 square kilometres total availa...