Ole Henaes, Innovation Norway’s director of Asia and the Middle East, discusses Norway’s competitiveness and the new industries attracting Japanese investors.

Bridges: What sectors are driving the dynamic Norwegian economy?

Henaes: We are an ocean-based economy and our strong points are in the ocean industries. Traditionally, it has been all about the sea for transportation and for the production of food and of course from (the) late ’60s, energy with oil and gas in the North Sea.

This has given us a solid entrepreneurial spirit and advantages within technologies connected to the ocean, such as in fisheries, transportation and, of course, energy both in oil and gas and now offshore wind. The
advanced maritime operations needed to install offshore wind farms and maintain them has been the core of the Norwegian economy for decades.

When it comes to Japan, we export oil and gas and also seafood, but the main thing for us has always been about the technology and what is required to actually produce seafood and develop the aquaculture industry in a sustainable manner so that we leave something behind for our children.

What opportunities do you see for further engagement with Japan?

We work proactively with attracting Japanese investors and they are currently looking into two things: The production of batteries because we have access to a lot of clean hydropower energy and this is part of the green shift to electrify transportation; and also to establish data centers.