About ONS

What does the ONS letters stand for…? Here’s the answer to this – and to many other questions we get about ONS, along with some useful facts and figures. PS! Use the menu on the left to go straight to the topic of your interest.

Event frequency

ONS takes place every second year in Stavanger, Norway.
The next event is 29 August – 1 September 2016.


When oil and gas was discovered in the North Sea, the need for a meeting place for the companies in this new industry emerged. ONS was held for the first time in 1974, and has more than 40 years of proud history.

ONS is a non-profit foundation, and was established by Stavanger City Council, Statoil, Stavanger Forum and the Norwegian Petroleum Society.

The name

ONS has developed with the times – as has the name. In the seventies, ONS was short for Offshore North Sea, as the event was targeted at companies with business in the North Sea basin.

However, the oil industry soon started to explore other parts of the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The ONS event grew alongside the industry, more exhibitors and visitors participated and the conference topics became broader. So the name was changed to Offshore Northern Seas.

Today, the event attracts visitors from all over the world, and is known just as ONS.

Key figures from ONS 2014

  • 91 862 visitors from more than 100 countries
  • 1 392 exhibitors from 39 countries
  • 24 000 square metres exhibition area (expanded to 27 000 sq m in 2016)
  • 11 100 attendees on four conference arenas

Facts and figures, ONS 2016


  • 10 exhibition halls (1 more than in 2014)
  • 27 000 square metres exhibition space
  • Operators and suppliers from all over the world
  • Approx 30 % new exhibitors
  • Two designated areas for innovators and companies with clean energy initiatives: Innovation Park and Clean Energy Park
  • Access to ONS Centre Court, a conference arena in the exhibition area
  • No invitation needed. Tickets cost 400 NOK – this gives access to the exhibition all four days


  • Main theme: Transition
  • 260 speakers on five conference arenas
  •  ONS Conference
    – Held at the Clarion Hotel Energy
    – Expanded programme with more parallel sessions and more content
    – Choose between Full Conference Pass or day passes
  • Centre Court – conference arena at the exhibition, strong focus on clean energy topics
  • Technical Sessions – new feature! Technological solutions to the industry’s main challenges
  • Young – extensive programme for lower and upper secondary school pupils, students, young professionals and for teachers and advisers.
  • International Markets, presented by INTSOK: Focus on business opportunities for Norwegian companies abroad
  • ONS Summit: a forum for senior executives and governmental leaders attending ONS


  • Social network arena and cultural events
  • Festival area in the Stavanger’s harbour, in the city centre
  • Opens when the exhibition closes – everyone is welcome!
  • Energy cities and companies host pavilions and boats
  • Culinary delights, art and entertainment
  • Art exhibition with the ONS Artist (artist to be announced)
  • Run for fun – the ONS road race
  • The ONS Concert in the city
  • The ONS after-party

Conference themes - historical

The chosen theme helps set the agenda for the ONS Conference. Transition is the main theme for ONS 2016. Here’s an overview of the ONS themes over the years.

1980 Uncertainties in the management of the offshore petroleum resources

1982  Production of oil and gas from deep and hostile waters

1984  Uncertainties and innovation – management of northern offshore resources

1986  Northern waters: new political, economic and technical opportunities and concerns

1988  Oil and gas in the 1990’s – perspectives, challenges and opportunities

1990  The petroleum industry adjusting to new realities

1992  Future energy markets – political and technological perspectives

1994  A changing world – a changing industry

1996  Oil and gas beyond 2000 – new frontiers

1998  Energy needs and environmental demands

2000  Shaping the future of the energy industry

2002  Energizing a new generation

2004  Shaping our energy future

2006  Bridging the energy gap

2008  Energy for one world

2010  Energy for more people

2012  Confronting Energy Paradoxes

2014  Changes

2016 Transition