1992 - 2000
Deregulation and new power markets
Deregulation of power markets, internationalisation, global climate change, commitment to clean and renewable energy; these were some of the highlights of the exciting decade leading up to the millennium.
The new company
The period around 1990 marked the beginning of the commercial and international chapters of Statkraft's history. In 1992, Statkraft was divided into two state-owned enterprises. From the state's first waterfall acquisition in 1895 to the formation of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) in 1921 and then Statkraftverkene in 1986, power generation and transmission were organised as one public utility. A new energy law in 1990 paved the way for a free power market and competition in the sale of power, while power transmission remained a monopoly. As a consequence of the new energy law, Statkraft was divided into two state-owned enterprises in 1992. The new Statkraft was made responsible for production and sales, while Statnett took care of distribution. Norway became a pioneer in the liberalised power markets, with state-owned Statkraft taking a leading role.
After the division in 1992, the Storting (Parliament) decided that Statkraft should be run as an independent commercial company, but still wholly owned by the state. A new level of autonomy allowed the company to buy up regional power plants in Norway. At the same time, it began looking beyond Norway's borders, initially to hydropower projects in Laos and Nepal.
The years after 1996 were characterised by expansion through significant acquisitions of ownership stakes in other companies. The first foreign acquisition was made in the spring of 1996 when Statkraft acquired a small stake in Sydkraft, Sweden's second-largest power company. The background for the acquisition was the deregulation of the Swedish power market in the same year. Statkraft realised it would be profitable to invest in Swedish hydropower. Sweden and Norway became a common energy market with extensive trading through Nord Pool, the world's first international power exchange. This changed the character of power trading from long-term, bilateral agreements to exchange trading with spot price, futures contracts and other financial instruments. The same year saw the completion of the power plant on the Khimti Khola River in the Dolakha district around 100 kilometres east of Kathmandu in Nepal, of which Statkraft was the majority owner.
1998 - 1999
Trading offices in continental Europe
In the autumn of 1998, Statkraft opened its first office for power trading in continental Europe, in Amsterdam.
A similar trading office opened in Dusseldorf a year later. Armed with experience from Scandinavia and the Netherlands, Statkraft also identified significant business opportunities when the power market in Germany was rapidly deregulated. Up until then, Statkraft had been associated more with power production than with power trading. However, power trading as a business area grew rapidly and became increasingly important, and Statkraft soon established a presence in international markets where power and power-related products were bought and sold.