ECONOMY: MINERAL RESOURCES AND INDUSTRY
The abundance of hydroelectric potential made, as we have said, the fortune of the Norwegian economy; starting in 1971 (the year in which they entered into operation) the hydrocarbon fields of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea – in Statfjord, Frigg, Ekofisk etc. – they have provided the country with an additional and very conspicuous energy base (already in 1975 capable of satisfying internal needs) as well as very significant currency contributions. Government policy, however, is to limit the use, at least internally, of this source of wealth within precise limits; the production of electricity itself is over 99% of water origin, while oil is essentially sent for export. The same destination is that of natural gas, which boasts the largest field in the world in the Tröll basin, destined to increasingly supply EU countries. The extraction is controlled for 20% exclusively by Norwegian companies, for the remainder associated with foreign companies (mainly French) and with significant state-owned shares; also due to the conformation of the seabed in front of the Norwegian coast, the export takes place mainly by means of submarine oil and gas pipelines that directly connect the fields to the areas of final destination (Teeside in Great Britain, Emden in Germany). Half of the workers in the sector are concentrated in the county of Rogaland, deriving only for the extractive part approx. 1/4 of the gross industrial product. With the exception of energy minerals, which can include modest quantities of coal extracted from Svalbard, Norway as a whole does not have any significant mineral resources; well represented, however, is iron (1.1 million tons of iron contained), to which pyrites and, to a lesser extent, minerals of copper, zinc, lead, vanadium, molybdenum, titanium are addedetc. The Norwegian industry is not very diversified, relying on productions that require high energy inputs, such as metallurgy and chemistry, as well as on the processing of fish and forest products. The location of the businesses favors the southern regions; however, given the proximity to markets and better access to communication routes, factories have also sprung up in other areas, as the country tends to achieve fairly uniform regional development. The metallurgical industry works in large part imported minerals: even without bauxite, Norway is, for example, one of the first producers of aluminum in the world. In addition, copper, lead and manganese minerals are processed, zinc; also developed is the steel industry (cast iron, ferroalloys and steel), fueled by national ore. The mechanical industry operates in the automotive and machinery sectors in general, but above all in the traditional and highly prestigious shipbuilding sector (with shipyards in Oslo, Moss, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, etc.), for which Norway ranks among the very best in the world. The chemical industries (sulfuric, hydrochloric and nitric acid; caustic soda, nitrogen fertilizers, plastics, etc.) and the petrochemical industries are also developing well; oil refineries have a refining capacity practically adequate for the quantities of crude oil extracted. As has been said, traditional and active industry is that linked to forestry exploitation, and likewise, in the food sector, the sector that concerns the processing of fish; however, the food industry is fairly well represented on the whole (dairy complexes, breweries, etc.).
ECONOMY: COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMERCE
Given the conformation of the country, communications are extremely difficult; and since the vital area is on the coasts, here is the importance of maritime communications, of cabotage for internal, wide-range and, of course, external connections. Relatively underdeveloped is the railway network (about 4100 km), which is concentrated almost exclusively in the S, but which goes as far as Bodø, capital of Nordland. The road network (91,910 km of which 67,473 are asphalted) is also strongly influenced by the morphology of Norway; however it is possible to reach North Cape quite easily by car. On the other hand, aerial communications are very widespread; among the numerous airports we remember those of Fornebu (Oslo) and Flesland (Bergen). Of the great ocean ports – Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen etc. -, in which the terrestrial communications system converges, as well as the conspicuous Norwegian fleet. Regarding the latter, in addition to its modernity, it is worth mentioning the function performed through freight rates: it is in fact in part significant at the service of other countries (mainly Sweden); among the major ports the capital is followed by Bergen and Trondheim. Visit sourcemakeup.com for Norway travel information.
Trade is a vital necessity for Norway, given the poverty of natural resources; the country mainly imports machinery and means of transport, minerals for its metallurgical complexes, various industrial products (chemicals, textiles, food, etc.); exports mainly concern oil and natural gas (for about 40% of the total), then non-ferrous metals, boats, iron and steel, fish and its preparations, paper and wood pulp. The exchange takes place eminently with Great Britain, followed by Sweden and Germany; exchanges with EU countries have by now reached a total of 70% of the total, making the opportunity to seek closer forms of economic integration feel increasingly pressing since the early 1990s. Thanks to oil, the trade balance recorded a limited surplus or deficit.