Some useful information if you are coming to a Petrad event here
Norway is part of the “Schengen” area, which also includes most countries of the European Union (but not the United Kingdom). If you have legally entered the Schengen area, you can travel freely to Norway. If not, you will probably need a visa depending on your nationality. Citizens of most African and Asian countries need a visa to enter Norway. For more details, visit the web pages of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (www.udi.no).
As a visitor to Petrad, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary travel formalities. If requested, Petrad will issue a letter confirming your invitation to our event, which you can submit with your application for a visa. An application for a visa to Norway must be submitted in accordance with the procedures of the Norwegian foreign mission covering your country of residence, which may be found on www.norway.info. There is a requirement to obtain travel insurance, of which you can read more on the web page of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.
Participants at our events in Norway are advised to submit their visa application promptly after your participation has been confirmed.
Arriving in Stavanger
You'll land at Stavanger Airport Sola, which is located 12 km from city centre and has several international international connections.
We advise you to bring either a payment card (Visa or MasterCard) or some Norwegian cash (NOK 400 should suffice for a taxi to your hotel). There are ATMs at the airport where you can withdraw cash with a payment card. There is also a bank where you can change money, open 06:30 - 20:00 on weekdays, 09:00-16:00 on Saturdays and 11:00-18:00 on Sundays.
For one of our large courses you'll probably stay either at the Clarion Hotel Energy or the Park Inn hotel. Check your correspondence for this. To get to the hotel, you can use the Airport Express bus. They are white and usually found outside the airport building. Make sure the bus is marked for Stavanger. The bus costs NOK 110. You can check here for timetables. The stop for Clarion Hotel Energy is named Stavanger Forum. The stop for the Park Inn hotel is named just that. The buses take two alternative routes to Stavanger, so you should talk to the driver about being on the right bus for your hotel and getting off at the right stop.
If you are 3 or 4 persons, the bus won't save you much money relative to taking a taxi together.
Petrad’s office location is at Professor Olav Hanssens vei 10, Stavanger. It is 3 km from Stavanger city centre and 10 km from Stavanger airport. The airport has frequent international connections.
Petrad’s office is in a building complex which also contains the two key national authorities for Norway’s petroleum sector; the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the Petroleum Safety Authority. This is also the usual venue for our events in Stavanger. It is also near the University of Stavanger campus and the International Research Institute of Stavanger.
Petrad has access to a large auditorium, two classrooms and several smaller meeting rooms, all with modern audio-visual facilities and wireless intranet access. There is a cafeteria serving lunch at reasonable prices.
Clothing and other things
Stavanger is known for many nice things, but the weather is not one of them. Rain and wind must be expected any time of the year. Temperature is usually between +12oC and 20oC in the summer (June-August), and between -5oC and +8oC in the winter (December-February). We suggest you come prepared to spend a little time outdoors if the weather is reasonable. If you come for our 8 weeks programmes, we’ll equip you with some rugged outdoor clothing.
Business dress code in Norway tends to be rather casual. Neckties seem to have gone out of fashion, except on formal occasions.
Electricity is 220 V and generally reliable. If you come from a country where the power system is influenced by British standards, you are likely to need an adapter (can be bought in airports).
A few things to note:
- We use our own language, Norwegian, but most people here speak English quite well.
- We have our own currency, Norwegian Kroner (NOK). Check www.xe.com for the exchange rate. You can exchange money at the airport and many other places, or withdraw from ATMs. Norway is increasingly becoming a cash-less society where people use payment cards without carrying cash around. Most shops, restaurants and the taxis accept common credit cards e.g. Visa or MasterCard. Some will accept a debit card but not a credit card.
- If there are certain foods you cannot eat, this can usually be accommodated easily.
- Walking outdoors is generally safe. The risk of being exposed to crime is very low, but not zero. You will not be attacked by any dangerous creatures either. Police and other uniformed officials can be relied upon to be honest and helpful.
- Norway is not a cheap country for most things. A taxi ride from or to the airport is likely to cost the equivalent of around US$ 40. A restaurant meal will easily cost US$ 30, or much more, but you can also find cheaper ones serving mostly Asian style food.
- Prices in shops are also rather high, from most visitors’ perspective. One reason is the 25% VAT rate, so that 20% of the price you pay, is VAT. For some purchased items you can, as a visitor, get a VAT refund after bringing the items back home. Look for signs indicating this in shops. More information is found on the VisitNorway website (www.visitnorway.com).
- Most shops are closed on Sundays.
- Norway is predominantly a Protestant Christian nation. Religion has a smaller part in daily life here than in many other countries. The cathedral is worth a visit; it is the stone building in the city centre dating from the 12th century. It is normally open during daytime. Stavanger has a quite active Roman Catholic church. Thanks to recent immigration there are also some mosques, though in converted houses originally built for other purposes.
The oil town
Stavanger has held a position as the focal point of Norway’s petroleum sector since the 1970s. The national institutions located here are the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the Petroleum Safety Authority. The oil company Statoil has its corporate headquarters in Stavanger, and a number of international firms manage their Norwegian operations from offices here. There are also a large number of firms around Stavanger supplying equipment and services to petroleum operations, increasingly with a global scope of business.
Very little oil or gas actually passes through Stavanger, since production is all offshore. There are two supply bases near Stavanger serving the offshore installations, and a construction yard for building and servicing petroleum installations.
The Norwegian Oil Museum is located in a remarkable building on the waterfront in central Stavanger.
Stavanger has a natural gas pipeline grid, supplying gas for local uses including as fuel for buses. Nevertheless, the energy used in houses and most businesses in mainly electricity, since Norway has an abundance of hydropower.
Stavanger has a population of around 130,000, and is Norway’s 4th largest city. Including adjacent municipalities the region has some 250.000 inhabitants. Besides the petroleum related activities the region has some other industries on a smaller scale, marine businesses, agriculture and public institutions.
Sights to see
Some Petrad events include excursions which will let you experience some of the sights in and around Stavanger. It is indeed a spectacular region, featuring impressive mountains, fjords, islands, oceanfront, fertile agricultural lands, and of course the town itself with its charming small wooden houses, the waterfront and the 13th century cathedral. For more impressions and excursion ideas, visit the tourist agency www.visitstavanger.com.