September 2022

UK and Norway: partners in progress

International Trade – our regional focus series

To mark our Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, MDL has produced a series of articles looking at our international activities in specific regions. With ONS a few weeks behind us, we are taking a look at the situation in Norway.

As we come out of the challenges of the pandemic into a different global landscape, the collective foot of the industry is pressed firmly down on the accelerator.

ONS is a welcome opportunity to come together again with like-minded companies and individuals to draw breath and inspiration. It’s a key meeting place for the energy industry where more than 65,000 visitors from around 100 countries gather in Stavanger.

This year, the conference had a strong focus on how renewables are driving the energy transition in Norway and elsewhere, as well as discussing the challenges and solutions in lowering emissions in the production of offshore oil and gas.

The Norwegian sector plays a key part in the global energy picture, and the region is strategically important to MDL.

While it faces the same challenges as elsewhere, there are also huge opportunities for companies like ourselves that are all about providing the smart and creative solutions that will drive our industry forward.


In the 50 years since the start of Norway’s petroleum activities, about 50 percent of the estimated total recoverable resources has been brought to the surface.

In recent years, the activity level on the Norwegian shelf has been high. Indeed, the country is the main supplier of both crude oil and liquid natural gas for the United Kingdom.

At the start of this year, a total of 36 exploration and production companies were active on the Norwegian shelf. Of the 94 fields in production, 71 are in the North Sea, 21 in the Norwegian Sea and two in the Barents Sea.

Licensees have decided to develop multiple new discoveries, and several ongoing field development projects are close to completion or have recently come on-stream.

There are currently about 88 discoveries being considered for development. Most of them are small and will be developed as satellites to existing fields.

Simultaneously, large investments have been made on producing fields to improve recovery. There are about 180 of these projects currently being assessed.


It is important for the licensees to find profitable ways of improving recovery and make operations more efficient on existing fields - and this is where MDL provides the smart and creative solutions to make that happen.

A good example is in being able to combine operations on separate projects. Last year, our equipment and expertise were called on by TechnipFMC for an umbilical installation in the UK North Sea. We then travelled into Norwegian waters to carry out a flexible jumper lay project for them.

The versatility of our equipment meant that the spread could handle the varying reel sizes with the same deck layout. And combining the two projects into a single vessel campaign meant both mobilisation and demobilisation costs and time were halved, compared to carrying them out as standalone missions.

The above example is not an isolated one. TechnipFMC is a valued client for us on both sides of the North Sea and we have successfully worked with their project teams in the UK and Norway on combining multiple projects into single mobilisation since 2018.

These projects have ranged across SURF installations to maintenance and upgrade projects with our expert personnel supporting operations.

Conversely, it’s not only offshore Norway where we have applied our multi-project approach to deliver efficiencies; we’ve also worked with two separate clients on a single mission.

The transpooling campaign in early 2020 saw two subsea contractors – Havfram and DeepOcean - ready their coiled tubing for installation in their own respective fields by using a single solution, fully project managed and engineered by MDL with this collaboration in mind.

Risk-reducing measures in our engineering work ahead of transpooling 64km of MEG lines from 28 storage reels onto 7 installation reels allowed us to optimise the onsite execution.

It was a great example of a joint approach for project efficiencies, effectively giving a 50% cost saving on project engineering, mobilisation costs and equipment provision.

End of life cycle

In a mature basin, there are also significant decommissioning opportunities.

An example is the recovery of risers and umbilicals we carried out on the Balder FPSO in the Norwegian North Sea in 2019/20.

Completed in two stages, the first winter campaign used an MDL tensioner-based spread to recover the flexibles. We then returned to deploy our Horizontal Lay System to enable vertical recovery of the product. In using our system, Havfram was able to safely remove approximately 130 buoyancy modules before the stripped product was pulled on deck and cut into road-transportable sections – simply using the “toys” integrated into MDL’s technology.

After all, we are engineers at heart and we design equipment that does the job better, quicker and more safely.

MDL and trust

We work openly and closely with our clients to anticipate their needs – be it through provision of problem-solving technology, ingenious project management or straight-talking technical personnel.

Which is why it is fitting that the theme at ONS 2022 was trust.

In every part of our business, we are driven by our clients. We know that the foundation for success is in working in partnership.

This year and next we’re going to see a lot of new Norwegian developments coming on-stream. The country has the potential to play a bigger role in Europe’s gas market as long as the government can balance economic interests with its climate agenda.

With new plans for Norwegian offshore wind, there are opportunities for increased cooperation between the UK and Norway which will secure energy supplies and reduce carbon emissions, while creating a sustainable industry.

MDL will be there to continue to support, with the open, proactive and ingenious approach that will enable both nations to achieve their respective targets.

We work with your engineering challenges wherever they are in the world. We can find the flexlay solution that fits your business needs, empowering you with reliable enabling equipment and exceptional people. If you want to work with a company with a proven track record of delivering project success, get in touch now.

You can find out more about our specific work in the Related Articles section below, including a focus on the situation and opportunities in West Africa.