The story of Draugen

The story of Draugen is the story of breaking boundaries, changing a city and a region, about money and innovations, and about accidents and anniversaries.

Opening the northern NCS


The Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) above the 62nd parallel – the northern limit of the North Sea – was opened for exploration drilling in 1979. But it took acrimonious political disputes to reach this point.

The heliport at Kvernberget


This facility played an important part in the decision which made this mid-Norwegian port an oil centre. It was an important argument for Norske Shell when it resolved to locate the operations office for Draugen there in 1987.

Production licence awarded


Three companies were given a licence in March 1984 to explore for and produce petroleum in block 6407/9, where the Draugen field was subsequently discovered. They were Statoil, with a 50 per cent interest, BP Norway Limited UA with 20 per cent and A/S Norske Shell with 30 per cent. Shell was appointed operator.

Yop political questions have consequences far north.


Trondheim had ambitions in the mid-1980s of building up an oil industry, and threw itself into the fight to secure the operations organisation for Draugen. That effort failed. The question is why. Part of the answer can be traced back to one of the major international political issues of the 1970s and 1980s – the apartheid regime in South Africa.

A/S Norske Shell opened its industry office in Kristiansund on Friday 17 November 1989.


With Draugen due to be the first Norwegian field brought on stream outside the North Sea, this event was historic not only for the host town but also for the whole region.

Royal opening


“The development of Draugen and Heidrun has created optimism and drive in a region which has lagged behind in recent decades,” King Harald observed in his speech. He concluded by hoping that the town and its environs would meet the new challenges with hope, enthusiasm and a willingness to commit.