The history of Aker BP

The new history of the Aker BP ASA started with the establishment of the oil company Pertra in Trondheim in 2001. The businesses that today are part of Aker BP started, however long before that.

From Det Norske Oljeselskap in 1971, to NOIL. From the small company Pertra founded in Trondheim, to a part of PGS and Talisman, then to the independent “new” Pertra again. Mergers, aquisitions and expansions.


Pertra AS was founded by Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) ASA in 2001 as an exploration and production (E&P) with focus to exploit the potential of young petroleum resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The potential benefits of collaboration between Pertra and PGS were the prime mover in this work. Pertra was approved as a license holder and operator on the Norwegian continental shelf in February 2002 as the first Norwegian company operating on the Norwegian shelf in the last ten years. After the company bought the license shares in production license 038 of Statoil, Pertra took over operatorship of the license on the 1st August 2002. This license contains the producing the Varg field.

At the end of 2004, PGS decides to sell Pertra. With effect from 1 January 2005, the entire company, all production licenses included, were sold to the Canadian company Talisman Energy. Soon after, the established management team in Pertra establishes a new company, Pertra Management. The new company negotiates a contract with Talisman Energy for the purchase of some of the assets Talisman had acquired from Pertra’s former owner. The result was the basis for the establishment of a new exploration and production company in Trondheim. Pertra was now established again, with financial support from local investors.

From 2002 until the Pertra-team left Talisman in May 2005, it drilled 10 wells using four drilling rigs. Pertra was the operator of the Varg field from 1 August 2002 to 2 May 2005 with very good results. Pertras work with Varg has often been described as a success story within the Norwegian oil industry.

Picture from the listing of Pertra ASA on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2006.

Picture from the listing of Pertra ASA on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2006.

In February 2006, Pertra AS converted into a public limited corporation; Pertra ASA. To finance this transaction, and support further growth, capital were collected through Petro Mid-Norway AS.

“New Pertra” was now able to employ the vast majority of the employees in the “Old Pertra”. Since then the staff is strengthened through mergers and comprehensive recruitment.

Det Norske Oljeselskap, DNO

Det Norske Oljeselskap was founded in 1971, as the first Norwegian oil company. The company was also the first Norwegian oil company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Later the company changed its name to DNO.

They had their first revenues in 1974 through a shareholding in the British Heather field, and was participating in its first Norwegian license in 1984. Government’s policy that it would only be three Norwegian oil companies on the NSC prevented DNO from further activity on the Norwegian continental shelf. It allowed the DNO from 1996, under new management, to put their efforts outside Norway. The company’s strategy was to concentrate on small oil fields and expanding production from mature fields. In 2004, DNO sold a number of license interests to the Swedish company Lundin. At the same time the NCS was opened for new companies, and DNO again acquired licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf.

In October 2007, the board of directors of Pertra and DNO decided to carry out the merger of Pertra and the Norwegian interests of DNO, which was organized through the company NOIL Energy. DNO changed its name to the DNO International. The merger was approved by general meetings in DNO and Pertra the 8 November 2007. On 19 November 2007 Pertra changed its name to “Det norske oljeselskap ASA,” or simply “Det norske” colloquially. In 2008, the two companies were formally merged.

After the merger the expansion continued both in numbers of employees, new licenses, operatorships, and in exploration activity. In mid 2009 the company had nearly 140 employees.

Aker ASA in as a major stakeholder

In 2009 the negotiations for a merger with Aker Exploration began. DNO had sold shares, from a stake of 37 percent to 25 percent. Aker ASA was now the new major shareholder.

In 2006, the Aker Group established Aker Exploration ASA. The company would concentrate on exploration and production on the Norwegian continental shelf. The company secured a license and was qualified as operator in 2007. The same year the company was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

In 2008 the Aker Exploration concluded a three-year lease agreement with Aker Drilling for the new advanced drilling rig Aker Barents. Aker Barents drilling operations started autumn 2009.

The merger of the Det norske and Aker Exploration was approved on the companies’ extraordinary general meetings October 19, 2009. The merger was effective from 23 December 2009.

Det norske oljeselskap ASA, or the “Det norske” colloquially, was the name of the merged company.

Marathon Oil Norway

June 2nd 2014 the news broke, that Det norske oljeselskap had bought Marathon Oil Norway.

CEO Karl Johnny Hersvik said at the time,

Marathon in Norway fits well with Det norske. This applies both in terms of operational expertise, cash flow and production profile. The acquisition is important in terms of meeting our funding needs for Ivar Aasen and Johan Sverdrup, while minimizing its risks.

Marathon’s history on the Norwegian continental shelf started as early as 1976, where they established with a share of the Heimdal field. Heimdal came on stream in 1985. The company was approved as an operator on the Norwegian shelf in 2001. In 2003, the company achieved operatorship of the licenses that were to become teh Alvheim field, and interests in the Vilje licence. In 2008 the production started at Alvheim. Marathon took over operatorship of the field in 2012. Plan for development and operation of the Bøyla field is also approved this year.

Marathon employees had their first day working in Det norske oljeselskap October 15th 2014, while the effective date for the transaction is January 1st 2014.


In June 2016, Det norske oljeselskap ASA agreed with BP p.l.c. to merge with BP Norge AS through a share purchase transaction, to create the leading independent offshore E&P company.

The closing of the Transaction were 30 September 2016. On the closing date, the Company changed its name to Aker BP ASA and the new ticker symbol “AKERBP” at Oslo Boers. At the same time the head office was moved from Trondheim to Fornebu, outside of Oslo.

The ownership of BP Norway was transferred to Aker BP ASA September 30th, 2016. BP Norge continued to operate as an independent subsidiary of Aker BP until the merger between the two companies took place on December 1st, 2016.

Measured in production, Aker BP is one of the largest independent oil companies in Europe. Aker BP has a workforce of about 1,300 employees.