The oil and gas industry has the potential to stimulate significant economic growth. Energy-rich countries are increasingly expecting greater opportunities for local businesses and labour to participate in our activities. Wherever we have an active presence, our aim is to contribute to local content in our projects by developing skills and opportunities in the societies in which we operate.

We see local content as important and are constantly searching for opportunities to work with our host country partners to develop sustainable and cost-effective projects delivered on schedule. We are proud of our Norwegian heritage and success in developing local businesses' capacity, skills and technology to compete at the highest international levels. Drawing on this experience, we aim to be a preferred partner for many of our host governments around the world.

We demand high standards of our employees, contractors and suppliers. Such standards, found in our values statement and corporate policies on ethics, social responsibility and HSE, extend to all parties that work for or with our company. We also recognise that, in many of the countries where we work, local suppliers may not currently meet these strict standards. We are therefore also committed to working with suppliers to improve their skills and capacity in these areas.

Hiring and buying locally is a particularly effective way of generating local content and contributing to development. It has a direct impact on the local economy, creates jobs, and builds on and enhances local capacity.

Hiring locally and building capacity 

We aim to recruit locally, offer a safe working environment to all our employees, and provide attractive training opportunities that build on local capacity and skills. Especially in non-OECD countries, we are working to achieve a higher proportion of national staff, including at management levels. Currently, expatriates make up a total of 34% of staff in non-OECD countries.

Overall in Statoil, we also have an ambition to increase the proportion of non-Norwegians. In 2009, for our workforce in general this proportion decreased slightly to 41% from 42% the previous year. However, among staff in management positions the share of non-Norwegians increased to 40% from 37% the year before.

Because the nature of our business requires highly specialised skills that take time to develop locally, in many countries - including in Angola and Russia - we are also developing dedicated training programmes in collaboration with local institutions to enable capacity-building and the recruitment of local expertise.

Local procurement and supplier development

We also promote local sourcing and look for opportunities to support sustainable and competitive enterprises in many of our countries of operations. In 2009, we spent an estimated NOK 2.5 billion on goods and services from companies based in non-OECD countries, down from NOK 3.1 billion in the previous year.

To achieve our aim of increasing local procurement, we also support capacity-building initiatives and invest in local enterprises - including in Brazil, Canada and Nigeria - to provide them with the right skills and expertise, standards and certifications required for them to compete successfully and work in the oil and gas industry.