Working as a Contractor in the Oil and Gas Industry in Norway

 In Contractors

Oil and Gas Industry in Norway

International contractors will usually look for clients in countries that have industries that fit their skills and experience.  One of the more prominent industries in the EU is the oil and gas industry in Norway, and specifically near the city of Stavanger.  There were significant petroleum discoveries in the North Sea in the 1960s and Stavanger continues to host the largest oil companies.  Norway also supplies 20-25% of natural gas to the EU, which is its largest export.

The oil and gas industry in Norway offers an average of 40,000 positions, so there are opportunities to be had.  Naturally, many of those are full-time employees, but like in any business arena, contractors do fill many roles.  Leading Norwegian oil and gas companies are always recruiting talent from all over the world.

What types of jobs are available in the oil and gas industry in Norway?

Contractors can look for clients and projects in a multitude of disciplines, not only those related to drilling and processing.  There are both ‘onshore’ and ‘offshore’ positions to be filled on a regular basis.  Unemployment is low in Norway, so skilled workers are in demand.

Onshore positions are typical of many businesses, including IT support, administration, accounting and HR.  Offshore positions on ships and the oil and gas rigs include maintenance, marine technology and drilling.

How can I be hired as a contractor in the oil and gas industry in Norway?

Depending on how you set up your contracting business, you will have choices of how you can be hired.  If you are an EU citizen, you can work in Norway as a self-employed without the need for a work visa.  It may also be possible to use your own limited company as the contracting party, but long term you may need to set up a Norwegian limited company.

A more secure option for freelancers is to use a Norwegian umbrella company that can help you set up the contract and payment terms.  There is a fee for the service, but it could be shared between you and your client.

A recent trend in remote work could also allow you to work with Norwegian clients from your home country.  Obviously, this would only apply to ‘onshore’ positions that can be performed remotely.  The Norwegian client would contract with you just as with any foreign entity, and you could use an umbrella company in your own country to facilitate.

Does it matter if I am not an EU citizen?

If you are not an EU citizen, it can be more difficult as you must have a work permit with a Norwegian sponsor.  This would likely be your client, who may want to bring you on as an employee for more commitment.  You could also use a Norwegian umbrella company that can sponsor your visa, and facilitate the contract and payments.  If you have a contract offer, you can obtain a 4–6-week entry permit while you wait for the visa approval.

Are oil and gas companies willing to hire short term contractors?

Contract work with oil and gas companies can be project-based or seasonal if you have the right skills and experience.  Companies do bear the risk of misclassification if they treat you like an employee, so your self-employed status should be verifiable.  Short term contracts can also lead to longer engagements if you prove your value.

Are there different tax regulations for contractors working in the oil and gas industry?

Because of the high demand for workers in the oil and gas industry, there are some incentives for contractors who are seafarers.    There is a special seafarer’s tax deduction of 30% up to NOK 80,000 per year, as you will be taxed in Norway even if spending all of your time at sea.  To claim the deduction, you must:

  • Spend at least 130 days in a calendar year onboard a ship
  • The ship must be registered to work in Norway
  • Allowed work activities are construction and maintenance, but not anchor handling or supply boat runs

The deduction is typically for employees, not self-employed, but if you use the umbrella company solution it may be available to you.  It is applicable in the shipping industry as well.

How can Contractor Taxation help with contracting in Norway?

Contractor Taxation has a network of umbrella companies in Norway that can assist your contracting with oil and gas companies.  The umbrella company acts as an intermediary to the contract, ensuring performance and payment.  This works to the benefit of both the client and contractor, especially if it is a new relationship.

The client can deal with the local Norwegian umbrella company with confidence. In this case, the contractor has a valid partner to assist with any issues.  The umbrella company will withhold taxes and social contributions and handle any disputes that arise.  Please contact us for more information about contracting in Norway in the oil and gas industry

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