The oil capital of East Norway
In the early 1970s, it became evident that Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk had to target the oil industry.
The company started systematically to seek out niche areas in full growth within the oil industry in Norway. With its solid and diverse base of knowledge and expertise, the company had far more than one string to its fiddle and you would have been hard pushed to find a tune they could not play.
After an initial investigative phase, the Oil Division at Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk had a number of potential projects on the drawing board, which were put into practice. Two of these proved very significant in time: Subsea installations and dynamic positioning.
Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk was very much ahead of its time. The idea of subsea installations in particular was considered wishful thinking by many. Despite this, the company kept at its studies and investigations, and was able to deliver its first diver-free system for the Gullfaks field in 1983, which went on to operate for 20 years.
Around the time the company was investigating subsea systems, Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk started testing systems which would be able to keep a vessel stable by using propellers and thrusters.
They had a number of highly skilled employees in the Defence Division who had years of experience of automation, Kalman filtering and every other skill required to screw together a dynamic positioning system. All they required was a demanding customer, and they found this in Jacob Stolt-Nielsen, who ordered the system for two supply vessels and a drilling rig. This formed the origins of KONGSBERG's present position as the world market leader within dynamic positioning systems.