Norway is the world’s third largest exporter of natural gas and the fifth largest exporter of oil. More than 160 Norway related companies are established in Houston, making it the largest concentration of Norwegian energy companies abroad. Besides the energy sector, the estimated 9000 Norwegians in the Houston Region are involved in marine and maritime sectors, the space and medical sectors, as well as in the higher education and research sector.
“The principal task of the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Houston is to serve as a proactive catalyst to further strengthen and widen the commercial, industrial, and knowledge-driven bonds between Norway and the Southern Region of the U.S. The potential is great, particularly in the field of alternative energy, medical research, and, in promoting enhanced cooperation and exchange between universities”, explains Dr. Jostein Mykletun, Norway’s Consul General in Houston.
For promoting Norwegian technology and innovative, entrepreneurial capability in the Southern U.S., involving greater cooperation between Norwegian and U.S. companies, the Consulate General houses representatives from INTSOK, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce. “We are co-located in the newly built Norway House in the heart of Houston, and was recently awarded LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council. For this environmental stamp of quality we are very proud, serving as an inspiration for our future active presence in Houston”, says Dr. Mykletun.
Consular services to Norwegians in the Southern Region of the U.S., as well as to foreigners who want to visit Norway, are a core activity for this Mission. The Consulate General also focuses on creating better informed awareness and overall branding of Norway. This involves strong emphasis of cultural exchange in the Consulate General’s overall exercise of public diplomacy.
Before taking up his duty as Consul General in Houston on August 30, 2010, Dr. Mykletun’s career includes positions as Norway’s Ambassador / Special Adviser and High North Project Manager, Deputy Director General for Economic, Commercial, CSR, and Research Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, Science Counselor at Norway’s Embassy in Washington D.C., (2001-2005, also then serving as elected Dean of the Science Diplomat Corps), and Science Counselor at Norway’s Permanent Mission to the EU in Brussels (1999-2001). Previous positions in the private sector include serving as CEO of ONS (Offshore Northern Seas, Stavanger, Norway) and Secretary General of the World Petroleum Congress, WPC ’94, in Stavanger, Norway. The Consul General received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Political Science, International Law and Economics (1975).