Documents 2017/24

The Norwegian Experience

Oil and Gas statistics

Norway found oil in the late 1960s, the emergence of the petroleum industry led to changes in the National Statistics system. The purpose of this report is to share both challenges and experiences covering petroleum activities in statistics production.

Statistic Norway has more than 40 years of experience of keeping track of the petroleum industry, and this has led to a number of modifications to the Norwegian national statistical system. By sharing Statistics Norway’s experience, this report is a contribution to new petroleum countries to avoid some of the challenges and as inspiration to developing petroleum related statistics. Statistics Norway has acquired valuable knowledge regarding both petroleum specialized statistics, as well as how to include this activity into standard statistical products, like price indices, foreign trade statistics, national emissions inventories, accidents at work, etc.

The purpose of this report is threefold; first, to contribute to a better understanding of the statistics component that is part of the Norwegian Oil for Development (OfD) program. Secondly, to provide a tool for the OfD secretariat and Statistics Norway when considering support to petroleum related statistics in a potential partner country. Thirdly, to give input for partner countries when considering whether they would like support in petroleum related statistics development and in which statistical areas.

In the report many parts of the Norwegian national statistics system are presented, covering everything from the Statistics Act, classifications and various petroleum related statistics. It is a large task to cover such a wide area thematically, and therefore the report does not go in to depth on all issues. The first part of the report gives a contextual understanding of a national statistical system and the emergence of a petroleum sector. The second part covers some of the most relevant petroleum statistics in a systematic matter.

The petroleum industry has provided various challenges to the statistical system of Norway and following international recommendations has sometimes led to suboptimal results. Some topics that would seem to be rather elementary have turned out to be rather challenging. Changes and improvements are continuously being made. The Norwegian way of doing things will not be optimal for all countries. How the industry is structured and located (land-based/offshore), the structure of the statistical system, regulations around data access and data collection tools will vary. Processes and methods must be adapted to local conditions, while also ensuring alignment with international reporting.

This report provides information on the “how and why” of petroleum statistics. Hopefully it can contribute to more and better petroleum sector statistics, thus making quality information available to the public. In the end statistics is an important contributor to knowledge based policy discussion and policy making.


About the publication


Oil and Gas statistics. The Norwegian Experience


Julie L. Hass, John Åge Haugen, Vibeke Oestreich, Nielsen, Vebjørn Aalandslid, Robin Choudhury and Ellen Cathrine Kiøsterud

Series and number

Documents 2017/24


Statistisk sentralbyrå


Methods and documentation, Methods and documentation

ISBN (online)


About Documents

Documentation, descriptions of methods, models and standards are published in the series Documents.