MARKET: Norway opted out of joining the EU in a referendum in November 1994. However, as a member of the European Economic Area,  it still makes a sizeable contribution to the EU budget, as a member of the Single Market. The country is richly endowed with natural resources – oil and gas, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. The Norwegian state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors.

The petroleum industry is Norway’s largest industry, pumping around four million barrels of oil equivalent per day, and deriving half its export revenues from hydrocarbons. The service and supply industry is Norway’s second-largest industry measured in terms of turnover, after the oil and gas industry, and includes more than 1 250 companies. After more than 40 years of petroleum activities, the industry has developed cutting-edge expertise and is internationally competitive.

The offshore sector has suffered considerably since the oil price plunge in 2015, and then the subsequent coronavirus pandemic, with a drop in oil prices leading to the cancellation of various planned investment projects, and has led to further unemployment and uncertainty in the sector. The growing threat of climate change is also leading to increasing opposition to Norway’s role in the oil and gas industry, questioning its sustainability, given the damaging environmental impact.

That being said, this is also leading to opportunities appearing to build on Norway’s skills and infrastructure within ocean tech. Ocean-based clusters along Norway’s extensive coastline are looking at the questions posed by sustainability and cross-sector innovation, to spearhead efforts within areas such as offshore floating wind, carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), and zero emission transport at sea.

Examples of such innovation include Hywind Scotland, the world’s first operational floating wind farm, developed by Equinor ASA. The world’s first CO2 storage at sea was Sleipner, on the Norwegian continental shelf. And looking at the aquaculture sector, the world’s first offshore fish farm, Ocean Farm was designed by leading salmon farmer SalMar ASA, using technology originating from oil and gas.

Green Shipping Programme – the Norwegian government is aiming to create the world’s most environmentally-friendly fleet. Emissions reduction in Norwegian domestic shipping will have a major impact on meeting Norway’s climate carbon emission reduction targets. The programme is the result of a public-private partnership, and was established to bolster Norway’s position as a shipping nation – reacting to fierce competition from other parts of the world – as it tries to find scalable solutions for efficient and green shipping.


Some 20 large-scale pilot projects have been launched so far, including two to develop green ports; one to create LNG/VOC/battery-powered shuttle tankers; a hydrogen-powered speed boat; a bunkering vessel; and two autonomous, zero-emission vessels. AMPER, the world’s first electrical car and passenger ferry, powered by batteries, entered into service in early 2015 in Norway. Today, there are over 40 such electric ferries in operation in Norway. Additional investments of approximately EUR 190 million in battery and charging technology have been made, with more set to follow. By 2022, there are expected to be over 70 all-electric and hybrid ferries in total.

Data Centres – The activities of a modern, digital society, and the rampant development of smart technologies – such as smart grids, smart cities, smart mobility – generate a huge amount of data that needs to be efficiently processed and stored. Data centres need vast quantities of energy, which is a perfect match for Norway, with 98% of its electricity production coming from renewable sources (particularly hydropower). Additionally, the cold climate allows for energy-efficient cooling, and several locations involve the reuse of existing infrastructure and/or excess heat.

Seizing on this obvious potential, in 2018 the Norwegian Government launched the world’s first national data centre strategy, including tax reductions and incentives to improve connectivity. This strategy has led to a positive influx of investments. In 2019, Microsoft opened several data centres in Norway, while Volkswagen located a centre for high-performance computing (HPC) there, and Google bought a large plot of land from Statkraft. New, innovative solutions are constantly being sought related to the efficient, secure storage of data.

The transition from oil dependency to a more varied economy creates new opportunities, and Finnish SMEs with fresh ideas should follow these developments.


LANGUAGE: Both English and Swedish work well, but if Norway is your priority, it is worthwhile to consider translating your website and marketing materials into Norwegian.  The Norwegians are rightfully proud of their language and cultural heritage. Using Norwegian shows that you are committed to the market.


PEOPLE: Like most people from the Nordics, the Norwegians are generally known for their informality and egalitarianism.  The population of Norway is approximately 5.5 million. Oslo and its surrounding region counts for more than 1.2 million inhabitants. It is one of the most prosperous regions in Europe. The Oslo Region is a natural gateway to the Norwegian market and a preferred location for head offices of national and international companies with operations in the country.

Seppo Hoffrén Consultancy currently has two consultants covering the Norwegian market, alongside the other two Scandinavian markets.


Top 5 Norway Imports from Finland:

Finland’s exports to Norway amounted to $1.8 billion or 2.4% of its overall imports.

  1. Machinery: $293.4 million
  2. Vehicles: $146.5 million
  3. Electronic equipment: $145.1 million
  4. Plastics: $133.6 million
  5. Iron or steel products: $123.8 million


Main import countries:

Richard Whale

Business Consultant
Read more

Marko Arola

Business Consultant
Read more