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August 28, 2006
(Executive Council)

Premier visiting Iceland and Norway to discuss best practices in fishery and energy related industries

Given the tremendous importance of both the fishery and energy related industries to Newfoundland and Labrador�s economy, Premier Danny Williams says that meeting with other jurisdictions that have demonstrated best practices will assist this province in developing sound and effective policies for the future. From August 29 to September 1, Premier Williams will be visiting Iceland and Norway where he will meet with government and industry officials. He will be accompanied by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Tom Rideout, and government and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro officials.

"I strongly believe in learning from the experiences of others, and both Iceland and Norway are recognized as extremely good models for success in the fishery and energy sectors respectively," said Premier Williams. "As our government continues to move our province toward a more sustainable and self-reliant future, it is important to learn from other jurisdictions around the world, especially those with some similar circumstances to Newfoundland and Labrador."

Premier Williams and Minister Rideout will meet with several government officials and industry representatives including; the Canadian Ambassador to Iceland, the Minister of Industry for Iceland, the Minister of Fisheries for Iceland, the Director and Deputy Director of the Marine Research Institute (Iceland), the State Secretary for the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs for Norway, the State Secretary of the Minister of Petroleum and Energy for Norway, and officials with Norsk Hydro.

"The fishery has sustained our province for centuries, and it continues today to be a main economic driver in many of our rural communities," said Premier Williams. "And we all recognize that the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador is undergoing changes, and there is broad-based support for a renewal process so that we are prepared to adapt to challenges. This will be critical as we work towards secure and viable rural communities."

Issues facing the province�s fishery are similar to those in Iceland such as; resource decline and pressures; market challenges; weakened US dollar; and competition from China. Norway also faced difficulties with their fishery and have turned obstacles into opportunities with significant investment into aquaculture. The results have been extraordinary, making Norway one of the world�s leading jurisdictions in aquaculture technology and production. The Premier said that given the province�s recent investments into the aquaculture, it will be very worthwhile to gain the Norwegian perspective.

"I am also anxious to visit with some energy officials while in Norway," said Premier Williams. "Everyone in the province knows that I am absolutely committed to making certain that Newfoundland and Labrador reaps maximum benefits from our offshore resources. With oil prices reaching unprecedented levels, the time has never been better to start implementing policies that ensure we improve our return from these finite resources.

"Norsk Hydro are key players in our province�s offshore and I am anxious to sit and share with them my vision for our industry. As well, the Norwegian government has been very successful in developing regimes that guarantee benefits for the state, and given my interest in fallow field legislation, equity participation and industrial benefits, I especially look forward to these discussions."

Premier Williams said he is confident that given the extraordinary revenues oil and gas companies are making and the dynamic in the world today vis-�-vis oil and gas markets, there is a recognition in the industry that his government�s new approach is not unreasonable. The Premier believes that lessons learned on this trip will be valuable as he moves forward with his agenda for the future of the industry in the province.

The Premier will also have meetings on alternative forms of energy including a geothermal and hydrogen. "We are successfully positioning Newfoundland and Labrador as an energy warehouse, and while we are actively developing projects and policies in more common areas such as hydro, wind, oil and natural gas, we must continue to look forward to alternative energy sources," added Premier Williams. "Iceland has embraced research and development opportunities in innovative areas and it will be worthwhile to learn from them, and apply their knowledge to our province where we feel it is feasible."

Media contact: Elizabeth Matthews, Office of the Premier, (709) 729-3960, 351-1227,


Iceland Facts and Figures

  • Fish and seafood products exports represent nearly 30 per cent of total exports.
  • Iceland contributes approximately 2.4 per cent of the world�s fish catch.
  • In 2005, the fishery employed 10,840 people in both the processing and harvesting sectors. This represents almost seven per cent of Iceland�s workforce.
  • In 2005, total landings were 1.7 million tonnes with a landed value of $1,309 million.
  • There are several Icelandic interests in Newfoundland and Labrador including (but not limited to): interest in St. Anthony Basin Resources; cold storage facilities in Harbour Grace, Bay Roberts and Argentia have Icelandic interests; Iceland banks actively finance many interests in NL; a strong sharing of aquaculture technology between NL and Iceland.
  • Norway Facts and Figures:

  • 50 producing oil and gas fields
  • First year of oil and gas production was 1971
  • Oil production: 932.2 millions bbls
  • Gas production: 2,966.4 billion cubic feet
  • Natural gas liquids production: 152 million bbls
  • Crude oil reserves (excludes undiscovered): 30,406 million bbls
  • Natural gas (excludes undiscovered): 146,980 billion cubic feet
  • Natural gas liquids (excludes undiscovered): 4,350 million bbls
  • Total catch in Norwegian fishery in 2005 was 2.4 million tones with a landed value of $2.2 billion
  • Norway has the 10th largest annual catch and the third highest export value, and is responsible for approximately 3.6 per cent of the world�s fish catch
  • In total (excluding aquaculture), the fishery employed 22,389 people in 2005.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador facts and figures:

  • Fish and seafood exports represent nearly 6.7 per cent of total exports
  • The fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is small relative to the rest of the world and contributes less than one per cent of the world�s total catch
  • In 2005, the fishery employed 27,100 people in both the processing and harvesting sectors
  • In 2005, total landings were 326,000 million tonnes with a landed value of $461 million
  • Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the world�s largest producers of snow crab and cold water shrimp
  • Three producing oil and gas fields
  • First year of oil and gas production was 1997
  • Oil production: 111.3 millions bbls
  • Gas production: 0.0 billion cubic feet
  • Natural gas liquids production: 0.0 million bbls
  • Crude oil reserves (excludes undiscovered): 2,751 million bbls
  • Natural gas (excludes undiscovered): 10,234 billion cubic feet
  • Natural gas liquids (excludes undiscovered): 478 million bbls
  • 2006 08 28       1:50 p.m.

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