Norwegian Conference Takes Off

The petroleum business is facing rapid, widespread generational shift. How will it attract the best candidates from the next generation? One answer is to create a forum in which students and young employees from the oil companies learn more about each other. This is what drives the Energy21 conferences every year in Stavanger.

Held in March, the conference gathers approximately 160 participants, mainly petroleum engineering students from Norwegian universities and the young employees of oil companies and suppliers. Also attending is a complement of senior employees from the big operators and contractors. Energy21 is backed by companies, the Norwegian Oil Assn., and the Federation of Norwegian Manufacturing Industries. Funding is secured when each company pays a fee, thus ensuring the participation of three young employees and a senior observer. The fee also covers travel and hotel rooms for two students.

Interest in Energy21 is large and growing. The major oil companies and contractors enthusiastically support it, while participants show they are keen to participate. Evaluation schemes show that nearly every participant would attend the following year’s conference. Although conference themes vary from year to year, young professionals have always been a focus. Last year, Kon-Kraft’s executive forum—led by the Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister—sat and listened to young lecturers before they themselves took part in the panel debate.

Offshore Media Group arranges the conference, and conference papers are published at This year, Energy21 was coarranged by the SPE Stavanger Chapter. Combining the conference with the chapter’s monthly evening meeting was a huge success. Energy21 conferences are now being arranged outside of Norway, including at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston and at the Offshore Europe conference in Aberdeen.

Conference participants engage in one of the roundtable discussions.