Scandinavia has long been regarded as very expensive, even by visitors from other parts of Europe, with a major tourist bugbear being the price of alcohol. This view was confirmed in the summer by ECA International’s cost of living report, which showed that Tokyo had been knocked off its top spot for the first time in three years by Oslo – Norway’s capital. The capital of Norway’s oil industry, however, is Stavanger. And Stavanger is currently rated by ECA as the third most-expensive location in the world for expats.
ECA notes that while prices have increased little since last year (when Stavanger was rated fifth in ECA’s list of the most expensive cities), the free-floating Norwegian krone has remained strong – reflecting Norway’s economic resilience. A lot of this economic resilience is down to Norway’s oil and gas industry, where Statoil ASA is using its « fast track » methodology to bring oil and gas developments on the Norwegian Continental Shelf – such as the Svalin field in the North Sea – into production quickly and economically. The country is also opening up its Arctic region for development, with the country’s energy ministry recently inviting oil and gas companies to nominate further blocks for exploration in the Barents Sea.