flag Norway Norway: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Norway | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information


FDI in Figures

FDI in Norway dropped sharply in recent years: according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2023, FDI inflows were negative by USD 3.43 billion in 2022, compared to a positive flow of USD 1.74 billion one year earlier and USD 16.7 billion recorded before the pandemic. In 2022, FDI stock reached USD 145.5 billion, around 25.1% of the country's GDP. Despite the uncertain economic situation, Norway continues to be a major investor abroad, with a total stock of outward FDI of USD 188 billion. The latest data from Statistics Norway show that the main sectors in terms of inward FDI are financial and insurance services (17.5%), wholesale and retail trade (116%), manufacturing (11.4%), information and communication (10.1%), and real estate (9.3%). In terms of ultimate investing country, the U.S. leads the way with 16.7% of the total stock, followed by Sweden (13.3%), Finland (8.2%), the UK (7.8%), and Italy (5.7% - Statistics Norway). The decline in the price of hydrocarbons led to a drop in investment in Norwegian oil companies in recent years. However, the trend reversed due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the consequences it caused in the energy market. The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, representing Offshore Norway, has projected investments of NOK 240 billion (around USD 22.3 billion) on the continental shelf in 2024, marking a 9% rise compared to the figures for 2023, while the investments are estimated to fall gradually by 2027. Lately, the Norwegian government pension fund has enhanced its efforts to move towards sustainable investments, for example by announcing the divestment of carbon-related assets from its portfolios. According to the latest figures by the OECD, in the first six months of 2023 FDI to Norway totalled USD 2.4 billion, compared to a flow of USD 4 billion recorded in the same period one year earlier.

The Norwegian government introduced a new investment screening regime, allowing Norwegian authorities to investigate and block FDI on grounds of national security, financial stability and autonomy. The decision applies to EU and non-EU investments alike. There are about 8,363 foreign-owned companies in Norway (U.S. State Department). While the country has a small domestic market, it possesses several assets, such as its geographic location in a fertile region, its favoured ties with the United States, its skilled and multilingual population, a modern economy and rich energy resources. Norway has a particularly favourable business climate, and the country ranks 14th out of 82 nations in the Economist Business Environment ranking. It is also ranked at 8th place out of 133 in the 2023 Corruption Perception Index. Furthermore, Norway ranks 19th among the 132 economies on the Global Innovation Index 2023 and 10th out of 184 countries on the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom.

Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) -8,2291,749-3,436
FDI Stock (million USD) 167,096211,593145,513
Number of Greenfield Investments* 524649
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 1,2101,6632,214

Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.



Main Investing Countries 2019, in %
Sweden 24.6
United States 9.9
The Netherlands 9.0
Luxembourg 8.2
Denmark 7.5
United Kingdom 6.6
Finland 5.2
Germany 4.2
France 3.2
Main Invested Sectors 2019, in %
Mining and quarrying 20.5
Manufacturing 12.6
Financial and insurance activities 9.8
Wholesale and retail 9.7
Real estate 7.7
Transportation and storage 7.2

Source: OECD's Statistics, Latest data available.

Form of Company Preferred By Foreign Investors
Foreign investors can operate through a branch office or through a separate entity. Limited companies (public and private) and partnerships can be used.
Form of Establishment Preferred By Foreign Investors
The most common form of doing business for a foreign investor in Norway is a branch office or an incorporated subsidiary.
Main Foreign Companies
ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP Amoco, Total, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Marathon, Halliburton, General Electric.
Sources of Statistics
Statistics Norway

Return to top

What to consider if you invest in Norway

Strong Points

Advantages for FDI in Norway:

  • Norway has a very strong economy and encouraging prospects of development. 
  • The high value-added sector of information and communication technologies is, for example, very well developed. 
  • The public sector is well organised (around a sovereign fund in surplus that can intervene at any time in the economy) and the country has high quality infrastructure. 
  • The workforce is highly skilled, multilingual and has one of the highest purchasing powers in the world. 
  • As can be seen from its eighth spot in the World Bank ranking of countries where it is easier to do business (Doing Business Norway), the business environment in Norway is very positive and stable. 
  • The banking and financial sectors as well as the fiscal and legal framework are also very robust. 
  • The country's political environment is democratic, healthy and transparent.
Weak Points

Disadvantages for FDI in Norway:

  • Norway's economy is generally not very diversified and is therefore very dependent on the price of oil, and the country has already exceeded the peak of its production (even if new deposits have been discovered). 
  • Like any open international economy, it is also very vulnerable to the economic situation of its main economic partners and the impact of the exit of the United Kingdom (Norway's largest export market) on its economy is still difficult to predict. 
  • Due to the geographical isolation of certain regions of the country, expenditure in the areas of transport, logistics and telecommunication infrastructure is very high. 
  • The country has put in place relatively strict labour laws that accentuate the extremely high wage costs in the country.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
The government maintains an open position towards FDI in Norway. Norway does not offer significant tax benefits to investors (whether foreign or Norwegian), but some benefits, such as lower social security contributions, lower tax rates and additional deductions for individuals apply for investments made in the less populated areas of northern Norway. Existing regulations, standards and practices may slightly favour Norwegian, Scandinavian and European Economic Zone investors.
For more information you can visit the Innovation Norway page, the government agency whose purpose is to help companies offer financing through the Industrial Development Contracts and Research in Norway. 

Special restrictions exist in Norway and apply in the following sectors: 

  • Acquisition of waterfalls, rights for power supply and mines
  • Acquisition of land, real estate and leases in the long term
  • Acquisition of cultivable land and forests
  • Purchase of more than 10% of the share capital of a Norwegian financial institution
  • Direct investments in exploration and petroleum operations that are licensed by the government

On January 1, 2019, a new law on national security came into force that provides the legal basis for a better evaluation of foreign investment by the government. ‘Target’ businesses are obliged to notify the relevant ministry under which they are regulated.

Return to top

Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Norway
Norway has signed bilateral investment treaties with several countries. A list can be found on the UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub pages dedicated to Norway.
International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
The ISDS Navigator contains information about known international arbitration cases initiated by investors against States pursuant to international investment agreements. Norway is involved in 5 cases as Home State of claimant and in 1 cases as Respondent State.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International court of arbitration, International chamber of commerce
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Norway is a signatory to the Convention of the MIGA.
Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Norway OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 7.0 6.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 5.0 5.3 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 8.0 7.3 9.0 5.0

Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.

Return to top

Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
A majority holding by a foreign owned company  in a Norwegian one is legal, and requires no notification to of clearance of a governmental agency. However, in certain sectors governing vital national interests, such as the power and energy sector (including oil, gas and hydropower) and the finance sector (including financial, credit, and insurance institutions), certain limitations on ownership and business operations apply.
Obligation to Declare
No specific text of law regulates foreign direct investments, but various sectors are governed by specific laws, which are handled by the respective ministries that oversee these sectors.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
Norwegian Competition Authority
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Companies must obtain a concession to acquire rights to own or use various kinds of real property, including forests, mines, tilled land, and waterfalls. The Petroleum Act of November 1996 (superseding the 1985 Petroleum Act) establish that direct investments in petroleum exploration and exploitation are subject to a government licence. Media ownership is regulated by the Media Ownership Act of 1997 and the Norwegian Media Authority. No individual party, domestic or foreign, may control more than 1/3 of the national newspaper, radio and/or television markets without a concession. Financial Supervisory Authority permission is required for acquisitions of Norwegian financial institutions that exceed defined threshold level.

Return to top

Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
Foreign companies don't have to seek concessions to rent real estate (commercial facilities, office space) if the rental period is under 10 years.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
Generally it's possible for foreign investors to own real property, though ownership of certain real assets is restricted. Acquisition of real estate and land are subject to The Concession Act. These regulations apply when buying real estate or companies that hold real estate (or long term leases).
Risk of Expropriation
No cases of questionable expropriation. Expropriation is governed by The Land Act. Government takings of property are generally limited to non-discriminatory land and property condemnation for public purposes.

Return to top

Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
No significant forms of investment aid. Norway’s SkatteFUNN R&D tax incentive scheme is a government program designed to stimulate R&D in Norwegian trade and industry.
Privileged Domains
There are incentives for implementation of green energy and technologies and public support and tax incentives for R&D investments.
Privileged Geographical Zones
Minimal taxation in the Svalbard archipelago and lower social security payments, lower tax rates and extra deductions in the sparsely populated areas of northern Norway. The economy of Svalbard is dominated by coal mining, tourism and research.
Free-trade zones
Public aid and funding organisations
The Nordic Investment Bank, the Nordic Industrial Fund, the Nordic Environment Finance Cooperation. More information can be found at under the topic "Financing".

Return to top

Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
The best business opportunities are consumer goods, information and communication technologies, construction and services for business, oil and gas, food processing, marine industry, fishing, shipbuilding, mechanical engineering and metals.
High Potential Sectors
Equipment / machinery and services for natural gas fields, telecommunications, naval and marine equipment, renewable energies, environmental technologies, medical equipment and supplies, security equipment, transport infrastructure (road network, rail network and urban transport), data centers, battery tech, life sciences, ocean tech, digitalisation, tourism.
Privatization Programmes
Norway has no current plans to privatize any state-owned enterprise.
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Doffin , Public Procurement portal
Tenders Info , Tenders in Norway
Ted - European public markets , Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket , Tenders Worldwide

Return to top

Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
Postal services, railways, domestic production and retail sale of alcohol.

Return to top

Finding Assistance For Further Information

Investment Aid Agency
Invest in Norway (Innovation Norway)
Start and run a business in Norway
Other Useful Resources
Oslo Chamber of Commerce
Kvasir Business Search Engine (in Norwegian)
Nortrade - Official Norwegian Trade Portal
Doing Business Guides
Altinn - Norwegian portal for dialogue between businesses and government agencies
Doing Business in Norway - UHY

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: May 2024