On Christmas Eve of 1969, Norwegians received the world’s best Christmas gift, one that would forever change the country and its future. On December 23, the American company Phillips Petroleum officially informed Norwegian authorities that oil had been discovered in the North Sea, 200 miles southwest of Stavanger, at a depth of several thousand meters. This followed years of exploration and the drilling of nearly 200 wells on the seabed. Oil production commenced in June 1971. Currently, the extraction complex at the Ekofisk field consists of 29 platforms pumping oil and gas. It is planned to be in operation until 2050.